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Instagram sales pitch gets Durham teen charged with selling weed

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A Durham teen faces felony drug charges after reportedly selling marijuana on the social media site Instagram, according to a recently released court document.

Hannah Lyne Peters, 18 used Instagram username “itslilhotgirl” to advertise quantities and prices of marijuana, according to a Durham County Sheriff’s Office search warrant sought by Detective V.S. Buchanan and issued Tuesday.

In one post Peters held what appeared to be a pound of marijuana and a pink and black AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, the warrant states.

“Furthermore, Peters posted Instagram stories, which are mini videos that are only viewable for a period of time by design,” the warrant states. “Audio during these videos often had a female, who sounded like Peters, stating that she had different strands of marijuana for sale.”

Buchanan learned about the account after a deputy showed him a photo of the user, and he “immediately recognized,” her as Peters, whom he had interviewed over the past year for another issue, the warrant states.

On Feb. 24 and March 3, a confidential informant bought marijuana from Peters after connecting with her on Instragram, the warrant states.

On March 5, the informant reached out to Buchanan and said Peters was selling drugs in the parking lot of a Cook Out restaurant on Roxboro Street.

A deputy followed the car she was in when it left the parking lot and pulled it over after the driver didn’t use the turn signal. Peters was in the front passenger seat and another person was driving, the warrant states.

The deputy found 111 grams of marijuana, or 3.9 ounces, in the glove compartment of the car, along with two digital scales in other areas in the car.

The driver, Ashlyn Nicole Lankford, 16, and Peters were released pending Peters’ cooperation with the sheriff’s Anti-Crime and Narcotics unit, the warrant states. Buchanan spoke with Peters the next day about her drug activity.

On March 13, another Instagram story was posted that appeared to show at least an ounce of marijuana, the warrants states.

On Tuesday Buchanan successfully sought arrest warrants charging Peters with three counts of felony possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana, two counts of selling marijuana, two counts of delivering marijuana and one count of possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Peters was arrested and released the same day on $5,000 bail.

Lankford, 16, also faces one misdemeanor and two felony drug charges.

Court documents show Peters faced various drug charges in June, including trafficking LSD, but most or all were dismissed in 2019.

Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.


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