Convicted Felon Found Guilty of Possessing Firearm in Facebook Photos
KNOXVILLE, TN—Following a two-day trial in U.S. District Court, on June 17, 2015, Malik First Born Allah Farrad, a.k.a. Marvin Maurice Buckles, 41, of Johnson City, Tenn., was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for 10:00 a.m., Oct. 29, 2015.
Farrad faces a baseline punishment of a maximum of 10 years in prison. However, possible sentencing enhancements could result in a mandatory minimum term of 15 years up to life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
In the fall of 2013, officers with the Johnson City Police Department began an investigation into suspected illicit conduct by Farrad. In so doing, law enforcement examined his use of social media, specifically, Facebook. Investigators found that in October 2013, Farrad uploaded a photograph of three handguns placed atop the toilet seat in his bathroom. Having previously sustained numerous felony convictions for drug, gun, and violent offense, it was illegal for him to be in possession of such weapons.
Subsequently, investigators, working in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), obtained a search warrant for the entirety of Farrad’s Facebook account. Once executed, law enforcement discovered a variety of photographs showing him holding, posing with, and displaying a Springfield, Model XD, .45 caliber, semiautomatic pistol. The pictures were taken from inside Farrad’s bathroom, and were uploaded in quick succession in October 2013.
At trial, Corporal Kenny Hinkle of the Morristown Police Department testified in great detail as to the distinguishing characteristics of the firearm seen in the seized Facebook photos. Those characteristics both confirmed the identity of the firearm, and dispelled any possibility of it being a toy, fake, replica, or imitation.
This investigation was the product of a partnership between the Johnson City Police Department and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Nick Regalia represented the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces.
This case was also brought as part of the Safe Streets Violent Crimes Initiative, a program which combines the efforts of federal, state, and local agencies in order to stop violent felons from endangering our communities.