Michael Eling Falconer, an East Timor veteran has pleaded guilty to attempting to use Bitcoin to purchase weapons on the Darknet.
In the Melbourne court, Falconer admitted that he tried to purchase four Glock pistols and a Silencer from the Darknet.
In an investigation, it was revealed that the East Timor veteran wanted to import the weapons and sell them to triads and bike-gangs in Melbourne. According to reports, he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The court said Falconer joined the army reserves at the age of 19 in 2004. He was deployed to the East Timor in 2003 and to border protection duties in 2004. A psychologist later discovered that Falconer was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is a mental health disorder caused by terrifying events either by experiencing it or witnessing it. It is not clear whether he decided to engage himself in the illegal online trade as triggered by this disorder.
Falconer was supported by the army sergeant of the army reserves for his services. However, he was apologetic for not realizing the psychological functioning declination of the soldier.
The Inside Story
According to Judge Murphy, Falconer established a code name and his contact on the Darknet through which he communicated with his weapon suppliers. He, unfortunately, agreed to a deal with an undercover police officer after placing an order. This method has been used by the police to nab Darknet users lately, and it has been proven to be effective.
Australia police recently went undercover on the Darknet to bring down a pedophile forum that existed over there.
The court revealed that Falconer sent a message to a supplier asking whether he had successfully sent weapons to Australia: “hey have you ever successfully sent pistols to Australia?’’ He also sent another message that: “Do you send pistols in multiple deliveries (sic) ie parts? What sort of packaging do you use? Do you have another level of discreet packaging you can use that costs more?” The supplier responded by asking him to place a bulk order.
Falconer, unconvinced, placed another order to a different supplier which unfortunately happened to be an undercover police officer. He said he needed 10 Glocks with Silencers: “big medium small as a man as you can with silencers and ‘he had access top-level’ 3 MC clubs, triads, established crews and about 20 independent operators who want everything I can get my filthy mitts on.”
The undercover police officer had a comprehensive discussion with Falconer both on the Darknet and face to face. After Falconer had made a payment of $4,230 in Bitcoin and another payment of AUS $5,000, the undercover police officer packaged the weapons and had it delivered. Item packaging is very important in Darknet trading as it is meant to create no suspicion of illegal substances.
The undercover police officer packaged four Glock pistols, a silencer, a threaded barrel and four rounds of ammunition. As arranged, he then put the package in the boot of a green BMW parked at Melbourne port. Falconer was arrested while sitting in a café waiting for the right time to approach the BMW.
The court sentenced Falconer to 2 years in prison. He will be released after serving 9 months, for good behavior.
Australia looks forward to eradicating illegal weapon smuggling on the Darknet and make sure that criminal acts are things of the past.
It was recently reported that Australians stormed the Dark web purchasing firearms for their private reasons. According to a research, Australia is an emerging leader of Darknet markets.
Darknet weapon trade is really booming, and it has been one of the reasons why the authorities go undercover to arrest traders. It was estimated by the Rand Corporation, Europe and Manchester University, that firearm trade generates $80,000 each month for every 136 sales made for that same months. The nature of the Darknet will enhance more active individual trade according to the researchers.
Michael Keenan, the Justice Minister has warned Darknet weapon traffickers that they will not stay anonymous forever. “Anyone making the mistake of considering buying an illegal firearm through the Dark Web should know their identity will not always remain anonymous and when caught, they will be prosecuted,” said Keenan.
Recently, four people were arrested in a global Darknet investigation in Australia.