By Traci Chapman
An Oklahoma City man faces criminal complaints alleging he was selling drugs out of a local tattoo business.
Billy Jack Charnik, 43, owns Cheyenne Ink, a tattoo parlor located in the 300 block of South Mustang Road, Canadian County Sheriff Chris West said. According to investigators, Charnik was arrested July 11, after a month-long investigation.
After securing a warrant from an unnamed Canadian County judge, investigators said they discovered Charnik was selling methamphetamine, both out of his business and also at Americas Best Value Inn, located just doors down from his tattoo establishment.
“While staged to serve the search warrant on the studio and through the use of social media, investigators learned Charnik was also selling drugs at the hotel,” West said. “They then redirected their efforts and began a surveillance on a hotel room there”
During that surveillance, investigators allegedly monitored several individuals entering and leaving the subject hotel room; after Charnik left that location and returned to his business, law enforcement served him with a search warrant, the sheriff said.
Investigators said they recovered a fully loaded 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, which Charnik allegedly carried in his waistband when the warrant was served.
“The subject also had two plastic baggies containing meth in the front pocket of the jeans he was wearing – and our investigators found multiple other plastic bags that were later determined to be methamphetamine in his tattoo studio,” West said.
Investigators also searched the Americas Best Value Inn room, after Charnik gave consent for them to do so, the sheriff said.
“Inside room 239, investigators recovered a set of digital scales containing meth residue, a small amount of marijuana, two small mint type metal canisters containing crystal meth and numerous other plastic baggies pre-packaged for distribution,” West said.
Investigators filed complaints of Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Use of a Telecommunications Device to Commit a Felony, Possession of a Firearm While in the Commission of a Felony, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Methamphetamine and Illegal Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, West said. Charnik on July 19 posted the $37,500 bond for his release.
Prosecutors have not yet filed charges against Charnik.
While Charnik has several criminal charges in Oklahoma on his record, all have been misdemeanors – except a 2008 felony burglary charge dismissed at the prosecution’s arrest. Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office officials declined to discuss the reasons for that dismissal.
Three of the eight criminal misdemeanor matters filed against him were 2011 Oklahoma County cases involving Charnik’s violations of protective orders, a charge to which the Oklahoma City man pleaded guilty in June 2011.
Several times since those pleas were entered, District Judge Russell Hall – who presided over each case – issued warrants for Charnik’s arrest, due to his alleged repeated failure to comply with the terms of his sentence. Most recently, Hall issued his latest ruling, allowing hearings on prosecution applications to accelerate and revoke Charnik’s sentence under the plea agreement – November 2016 hearings Charnik did not attend, according to court records; the judge at that time allowed the Oklahoma City man’s attorney to withdraw as his counsel.
Those cases remain unresolved, according to Oklahoma State Courts Network and Oklahoma County District Court officials.
Other misdemeanor charges include some for illegally engaging in the tattoo business before it was legal in Oklahoma. Several others – misdemeanor and traffic cases lodged in several Oklahoma counties – involved Charnik’s admitted action of driving, although his license was suspended. These cases – resolved through guilty pleas or, in the case of the tattoo-related charges, because the legislature later legalized the industry, illustrated something about Charnik’s character West said investigators immediately noticed.
“This individual has no respect for law or for the rules – I believe he doesn’t believe rules apply to him,” the sheriff said. “These may seem like small violations – and if it was just one or maybe two, it wouldn’t be so significant.
“But, this is a pattern of conduct that makes the most recent situation not all that surprising,” West said.