A Baltimore man who sold illegal guns through Instagram pleaded guilty to federal charges Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced Monday.
Prosecutors say Terrel Edward Elliott Jr., 24, used the photo-sharing platform to post pictures of himself with guns and to communicate with prospective buyers — including minors.
Elliott pleaded guilty in district court to unlicensed dealing in firearms and to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. He had been locked up on a first-degree assault conviction in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Howard County.
But less than two months after his release in 2016, prosecutors say, he was posting photos of himself holding guns to his Instagram page. He was arrested in April 2017 and again Feb. 12, 2018, after running from police to the back door of his home near Pimlico.
Police obtained a warrant to search his Instagram account, gungang_streetz, which included an emoji of a gun.
On Jan. 11, 2018, Elliott posted a photo of himself holding a 9 mm pistol behind his back while kissing a small child. The caption read, “I Wanna Give Her A Better Life Then I Had, An Hide The Past I Had.”
Through his account, which has since been removed from Instagram, police recovered photos of Elliott with numerous firearms as well as messages to prospective buyers, some of them minors. In January 2018, he sold a gun to a minor.
In addition to being a felon, and barred from owning a weapon, Elliott was not licensed and was prohibited from selling guns.
According to the plea agreement, Elliott admitted that the guns he sold would be used in connection with other felonies such as robberies and drug trafficking. Prosecutors say eight to 24 firearms were involved in his crimes.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said Elliott had “contributed to this alarming problem of gun violence by putting firearms in the hands of people intent on violence.”
Elliott faces a maximum of five years in prison for unlicensed dealing in firearms and a maximum of 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.