Feds bust suspected local drug trafficker ‘Fat Man’ after yearlong investigation

CHARLOTTE — A suspected drug trafficking operation was busted in southwest Charlotte just feet away from a church.

Undercover detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said they bought nearly 4 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl, along with an assault rifle and ghost guns -- all from the same convicted felon.

Federal investigators said all of this happened at Christopher Townsend’s mother’s house, and they said she was in on it. The home is on Windsong Drive, which is right by a church and the Harper campus of Central Piedmont Community College.

Now, the feds are trying to seize that home. In civil forfeiture documents, investigators called it “the epicenter for narcotics trafficking in the Arrowood Road corridor” and “an astonishing example of a drug-involved premises.”

In fall 2020, investigations into fatal overdoses in the Charlotte area led detectives to a group of people dealing drugs in the Skipwith Place-Nations Ford Road-Arrowood Road corridors.

Prosecutors said Christopher Townsend, also known as “Fat Man,” was one of those individuals. They said his mother was living with him and sometimes helped in the deals.

Court documents state that from May 2021 to August 2022, undercover CMPD detectives bought nearly 1.3 pounds of fentanyl, nearly 2 pounds of methamphetamines, and more than a half-pound of cocaine from Townsend. That’s in addition to AR-15s, ghost guns, and a machine gun switch.

Those court documents detail some of the nearly 40 transactions investigators say took place at the house on Windsong Drive.

Prosecutors say an undercover officer bought an AR-15 style pistol from Townsend for $1,200 on Jan. 13, 2022. They said they have a photo of Townsend selling $3,600 of fentanyl to an undercover officer on Feb. 2, 2022. And less than three weeks later, they said Townsend was caught on camera again selling nearly $6,000 worth of fentanyl to an undercover officer.

Prosecutors said those transactions attracted the attention of a rival gang. Authorities captured a photo of the Windsong house on July 23, 2021, 15 hours after the home had been shot into.

Court documents state that evidence from the scene was linked to firearms from another well-known drug trafficker in Charlotte.

Channel 9′s Evan Donovan saw a copy of this federal complaint to seize the house posted on the front door on Thursday. People who live nearby said they often saw cars coming and going, and people with guns there as well.

Christopher Townsend, 31, pled guilty to drug trafficking charges in June. The Mecklenburg County jail lists him as a federal inmate.

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Evan Donovan

Evan Donovan, wsoctv.com

Evan is an anchor and reporter for Channel 9.