Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Facebook Felon Sentenced To Serve 188 Months In Prison For Possessing Firearm In Photos
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Malik First Born Allah Farrad, also known as Marvin Maurice Buckles, 41, of Johnson City, Tenn., was sentenced on Jan. 14, 2016, by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 188 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. 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 criminal conduct by Farrad. In so doing, law enforcement examined his use of social media, specifically Facebook. Upon review, 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 offenses, 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, ModelXD, .45 caliber, semiautomatic pistol. The pictures were taken from inside Farrad’s bathroom and were uploaded in quick succession in October 2013.
At trial, exhaustive testimony described the distinguishing characteristics of the firearm seen in the seized Facebook photos. Those features both confirmed the identity of the firearm, and dispelled any possibility of it being a toy, fake, replica, or imitation. Consequently, following a two-day jury trial, Farrad was found guilty as charged.
This investigation was the product of a partnership between the Johnson City Police Department and FBI. Assistant U.S. 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.