August 23, 2023 – Charlotte County, FL

A man who fled Charlotte County deputies and traveled the wrong way on a busy street, tossing narcotics out of the vehicle, is now facing charges of trafficking in methamphetamine and fentanyl.

On Friday, August 18th, 2023, an extensive two-month long investigation conducted by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit successfully ended with the assistance of the agency’s S.T.A.R. and Aviation Units. During the investigation, it was found that Kenel Barthelus (10/14/1988) was transporting an excessive, trafficking amount of substances testing positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl, as well as selling narcotics within the community.

As a result of this investigation, Barthelus was surveilled coming into Charlotte County and a traffic stop was attempted on his vehicle for multiple traffic violations. Barthelus, who was the sole occupant of a white Dodge Charger, fled from the traffic stop and struck two Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office vehicles in the process. As Barthelus fled the area he crossed Kings Hwy into oncoming traffic, while discarding bags of narcotics out of his vehicle window.  Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office ground units did not pursue, as the Aviation Unit instead kept the suspect in their sights.

Barthelus continued traveling down the wrong side of the road on Kings Hwy. at a high rate of speed, endangering oncoming motorists. The Aviation Unit guided deputies and detectives to the area of where Barthelus exited and fled on foot.

Detectives backtracked Barthelus’ route and located the discarded narcotics. Barthelus’ actions were also later verified through Aviation’s video footage which matched up to the exact location where the drugs were found. In total, detectives located 5.07 lbs. (2,300 grams) of substance which tested positive as methamphetamine and 5 ounces of substance which tested positive as fentanyl (141.748 grams) which is enough fentanyl to kill more than 70,000 people.

“This is an example of an individual who has no regard for human life. The poison he was pushing, the carelessness of tossing it out the window, the reckless driving which put numerous innocent people in harm’s way… I’m glad we got him, and no one was hurt, and that he is behind bars where he belongs.”

Sheriff Bill Prummell

Barthelus was quickly apprehended and placed under arrest for the following charges:

  1. Trafficking Methamphetamine
  2. Trafficking Fentanyl
  3. Manufacturing or Transportation of Drug Paraphernalia
  4. Aggravating Fleeing to Elude
  5. Tampering with Evidence

Barthelus is being held at the Charlotte County Jail without bond.