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Press Release

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – Elias Nick Costianes, age 44, formerly of Nottingham, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession of firearms and ammunition by an unlawful user of any controlled substance. 

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, on February 12, 2021, the FBI executed search warrants at Costianes’s residence, his vehicle, and on his cellphone.  Costianes was taken into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  Costianes was advised of his Miranda rights and voluntarily agreed to be interviewed.  Costianes told agents that he kept four firearms in cases in the basement.  Law enforcement searched the basement and recovered the four firearms described by Costianes: a 9mm pistol; a M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle; a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle; and a 12-gauge shotgun, as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition, including 9mm, .22 caliber, .223 caliber, and shotgun cartridges.  A box containing 100 rounds of 9mm ammunition was also found in the trunk of Costianes’ vehicle.  Two of the firearms were semiautomatic and capable of accepting a large-capacity magazine. 

As detailed in his plea agreement, during the search, law enforcement also recovered marijuana and four vials containing either testosterone enanthate or testosterone cypionate, both controlled substances.  The electronic evidence from Costianes’ phone, including photographs and text message conversations, revealed that Costianes illegally used cocaine, testosterone, and marijuana and that his use of each substance was consistent, prolonged, and recent.  Constianes admitted that not only did he purchase cocaine and testosterone for his personal use, but that he also conspired to distribute, and did distribute, cocaine and testosterone to others. 

Costianes and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, the government will recommend that Costianes not be sentenced to more than 37 months in prison.  Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for September 25, 2023, at 10 a.m.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey J. Izant and P. Michael Cunningham, who are prosecuting the federal case.  Mr. Barron also thanked Paralegals Andrew Branigan, Mark Phares, Matthew Kerrigan, and Derek Harwerth, and Intelligence Research Specialist Angelina Thompson for their assistance.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and

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Marcia Lubin
(410) 209-4854

Updated June 8, 2023

Firearms Offenses