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Press Release

San Antonio Eastside Drug Dealer Enters Guilty Plea to Federal Drug Trafficking and Firearm Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

In San Antonio today, 38-year-old Charles Lee Bethany admitted to distributing crack cocaine on the city’s east side, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Houston Division; and, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, Bethany pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack”) and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  By pleading guilty, Bethany admitted that from March 15, 2017, to July 26, 2017, he distributed crack cocaine from his eastside stash house in the 600 block of J Street in San Antonio. 

On July 21, 2017, investigators searched the premises with a warrant and seized approximately 56 grams of cocaine powder and 56 grams of crack cocaine.  Investigators also recovered video surveillance equipment.  Officers of the San Antonio Police Department Repeat Offenders Project arrested Bethany on July 26, 2017.  He has since remained in federal custody. 

Court records also reveal information obtained by investigators that suggests Bethany may have been the intended target of a drive-by shooting in the 400 block of Spriggsdale that occurred shortly after 4:00 p.m., on July 19, 2017.  That shooting was followed by another the same day, shortly before midnight in the 200 block of Hub Street, in which a 4-year-old boy was killed.  Surveillance video recovered from Bethany’s stash house indicates that later that night a number of individuals appearing to be in possession of firearms left the location on J Street about 12 minutes before the shooting on Hub Street.  According to the surveillance, those individuals returned to the J Street address moments after the shooting.  While Bethany was not part of that group, he is see on the video possessing three firearms including an AR-15 pistol.  The investigation into those shootings continues.

Bethany’s criminal history includes two felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance (2004, 2008) and one felony conviction for evading detention motor vehicle (2008), all in Bexar County, Texas.

Bethany, who faces between ten years and life in federal prison, is scheduled for sentencing on February 13, 2020, in front of Judge Biery.

The FBI, ATF and San Antonio Police Department conducted this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wannarka is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

Updated October 10, 2019

Violent Crime