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Snapchat posts to land a man from Missouri in federal prison

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A series of posts on the social media app Snapchat will soon land a Columbia, Missouri man in a federal penitentiary.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Missouri said Chauncey Howard admitted to posing with illegal firearms and narcotics in photos and videos he shared on Snapchat. He’d also regularly post announcements on the app that he had drugs for sale.

An officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) testified that he witnessed these posts on Howard’s Snapchat account.

In July 2020, Howard shared pictures of him brandishing a silver Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun with a laser and flashlight attachment. In one of those posts, he was in possession of 24 oxycodone pills. Howard also posted a video of him with the same firearm and two Taurus handguns.

Another video showed two five-gallon buckets filled with pre-packaged marijuana products from a dispensary, which Howard said he was selling.

Law enforcement also found videos of Howard displaying different firearms and ammunition and a video of him firing the Taurus handgun at an improvised backstop. Howard was also seen with an AR-style rifle in one of the videos.

Prosecutors said Howard posted additional videos offering to sell marijuana, crack cocaine, and other controlled substances.

On July 22, 2020, law enforcement went to Howard’s residence with a search warrant. They discovered the .40-caliber handgun, a Taurus 9mm handgun, an S.C. Nova Grup S.R.L. 9mm handgun, marijuana, and $16,201 in cash. Authorities also found $950 in cash and THC gummies in Howard’s vehicle.

Howard, 37, appeared in federal court on Tuesday, May 24, to plead guilty to one count of possession of firearms in the furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

According to federal statutes, Howard faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison without parole, up to life in prison without parole.

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