Digital Forensics Dispatch

Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Maryland Man Charged in January 6th Capitol Riot Facing Drug Conspiracy and Firearms Charges

September 9, 2021

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland has issued a press release charging 43 year-old Elias Nick Costianes, Jr. of Nottingham, MD for charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and for possession of firearms and ammunition by an unlawful user of any controlled substance. Costianes was charged in conjunction with his participation of the January 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol Building. The FBI received an online tip that Costianes had used mobile social media applications to share videos of his participation in the riot. The evidence in the videos proved enough for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to issue an arrest warrant for Costianes.

Throughout the course of the investigation, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Costianes’ residence, cellphone and vehicle in conjunction with his involvement in the January 6 riot. During the search, law enforcement recovered “four firearms: a 9mm pistol; a M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle; a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle; and a shotgun.  The 9mm pistol and M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle were registered to Costianes, but the other two firearms were not.  Officers also found 9mm, .22-caliber, .223 caliber, and shotgun ammunition, and recovered three vials of testosterone enanthate and one vial of testosterone cypionate, both controlled substances” the release states.  Another warrant was submitted for the search and seizure of the firearms and controlled substances. Along with the search warrants for the cellphone, house, vehicle, firearms and controlled substances, the FBI also obtained a search warrant for Costianes’s online storage account.

Investigators searched his cellphone where they discovered text messages and screen shots of messages that contained slang terms for quantities and types of controlled substances. The online storage account collected had close to 300 text messages that began in January of 2019, all referencing the purchase or use of marijuana. There were also more then 450 messages that referenced Costianes’s purchase or use of cocaine. The release also states, “Recovered text messages reflect that Costianes allegedly continued using cocaine through February of 2021.”

In addition to the purchase and use of controlled substances, investigators discovered messages and photos that revealed attempts to traffic cocaine and testosterone by acquiring the controlled substances from suppliers and distributing them to friends and associates.

If convicted, the maximum charge for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances is 20 years in federal prison. There is a maximum of 10 years for the possession of firearms and ammunition by an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

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