From Tweets to Time: Firearms Investigation Stemming from Social Media Sends Houston Man to Prison
HOUSTON – A 26-year-old man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction for unlawfully possessing firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Fabian Spotts pleaded guilty in June 2018 to three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt handed Spotts an 84-month sentence followed by three years of supervised release.
At the hearing, the court saw screen shots of posts from Spotts’ Twitter account depicting him posing with various firearms and offering drugs for sale. Judge Hoyt noted the online images were out there for the world to see and could not be taken back.
The government also described Spotts’ extensive criminal history involving weapons and that, at the time of his arrest on these charges, he as found in possession of of a fully loaded Glock pistol, marijuana and pills and nearly $2,500 in cash.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) learned Spotts was selling stolen firearms utilizing his Twitter account. Following discussions, an undercover ATF agent and confidential informant met with Spotts on three separate occasions in November and December 2017 and conducted controlled purchases from Spotts of semi-automatic rifles, magazines, ammunition, sights and body armor. The transactions took place at the Palms Apartments on the 6400 block of Westheimer in Houston.
Spotts supplied two Anderson Manufacturer, model AM-15, 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifles with sights, a Mega Machine Shop Inc., model MATEN, 5.56 caliber AR-10 style semi-automatic rifle, a Southern Arms and MFG LLC, Model SAF-15, 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifle, various magazines loaded with ammunition including a 100-round 5.56 caliber fully-loaded drum magazine as well as a bullet proof vest.
Previously convicted of robbery, a felony offense, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
The ATF, Houston Police Department and task force officers from the North Division Crime Suppression Team conducted the investigation.Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Wirsing prosecuted the case which was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program to reduce gun and gang crime in America and the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative which seeks to proactively fight violent crime across the Greater Houston area