A British citizen was recently caught in a joint police operation and sentenced to five years in prison as he used Bitcoin and the dark web to buy arms from the US.
The Briton reportedly tried to buy a pistol, silencer, and ammunition using Bitcoin.
The judges claim that he was preoccupied with figuring out if doing this was possible.
An ‘obsessive preoccupation’
48-year-old David Mitchell spent over $2,750 in his attempt to buy a Glock 9mm gun with a magazine, silencer and 150 rounds of 9mm ammunition using Bitcoin.
The court highlighted that he had an “obsessive preoccupation” in finding out if this transaction was possible.
The Damside, Edinburgh native admitted to three firearm offenses during his appearance in the city’s high court in December 2018. On Monday, the court sentenced him to 5 years in jail.
Bloomberg reported that the judge Lord Pentland highlighted the accused’s plans to research the items he wanted to buy on the dark web and then ordered them delivered to the UK from the US.
The items were intercepted after a joint police operation between the two countries found out about the plan.
The judge noted:
“It appears that your decision to acquire the gun and the other items arose from an obsessive preoccupation on your part with exploring whether it was possible to do so by making use of the dark web.”
Then further added:
“You claim that you had no intention of causing harm to anyone, but the fact remains that you went to considerable lengths to get hold of a potentially lethal weapon and ammunition.”
The Work of Operation Dive
The Organized Crime Partnership (Scotland) is a joint effort by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Police Scotland to handle cases of serious and organized crime.
Their work on Operative Dive, which started only weeks before Mitchell’s activity in September last year, is being considered a milestone for the OCP(S).
It got involved after the gun was seized in the US at the point of exit. The authorities then delivered a fake parcel to his workplace which was found in his home later.
Mitchell has not talked about his motivations for purchasing the gun. The software engineer was living alone in his house.
Interestingly, Mitchell had no previous conviction and was described as a dependable employee at his workplace by defense attorney John Scott. He has a history of depression and some behavioral difficulties.