MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 38-year-old Rochester man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for illegally possessing several firearms during a traffic stop and ensuing car chase last year.

According to court documents from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Charles Antonio Gayles was pulled over by Rochester police on May 7, 2019 for driving a black Audi A6 with an expired registration and illegal window tinting. An officer reported smelling cannabis coming from the vehicle, and saw a bag full of more than 8 grams of marijuana on the dashboard.

Gayles handed the bag to the officer, who asked him to turn off the vehicle. Gayles then drove off, but soon crashed the Audi and fled on foot.

Two passengers in Gayles’ car later told investigators they say him remove a black handgun from under his seat before running away, and an officer said they saw him throw a firearm into a bush. Police later found the weapon — a loaded Sig Sauer 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Two other loaded 9mm handguns were found in the vehicle, as well as a 32-round magazine and a holster. An extra 27 grams of marijuana was also inside the Audi.

Officers later found Gayles, with Audi keys in his pocket, hiding inside a trash can a few blocks from the crash.

Gayles, a career criminal, is barred from possessing guns due to previous felony convictions. In addition to his prison sentence, he also received five years of supervised release.

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