Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division along with Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall of the District of Kansas announced the end of a darknet gunrunner case. A Kansas man Michael Andrew Ryan, aka Brad Jones and GunRunner, signed a plea deal to shorten his sentence—contingent upon information Ryan provided. According to the Department of Justice’s press release, he provided the information requested and received the prison sentence and further penalties outlined in the court documents.
U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree of the District of Kansas sentenced Ryan to 52 months in prison. In addition, Ryan must forfeit any remaining weaponry in his possession. According to the court documentation, law enforcement seized Ryan’s weapons at the time of his arrest. They additionally confiscated the defendant’s ammunition for assorted firearms.
As part of the plea agreement, Michael Andrew Ryan gave up information about his activity on the darknet markets. He gave law enforcement the general locations of his customers,
information about some of the inner-workings of the darknet, and other, similar data. Realistically, Ryan may have given law enforcement everything, not just generalized details. The vendor who supplied the Glock to the Munich gunman gave police full access to his vendor accounts. This process is not uncommon.
Furthermore the law enforcement agencies controlling the investigation may have chosen to keep further details hidden from the public. Especially if the government decided to pursue the buyers of the weapons. See: gag orders and national security letters after a secret subpoena.
With some documents unavailable to the public, the full details of what, exactly, happened in the courtroom may never be known. On the flipside, maybe the details he gave law enforcement were the only pieces of information the plea agreement required from him. (We have a post on a vendor named “weaponsguy” that matched Michael Andrew Ryan’s criminal complaint and investigation.)
In early 2016, Ryan pleaded guilty to multiple counts of illegally exporting and attempting to export firearms. He sent guns to Ireland, England,Scotland, and Australia. He sent dozens of guns overseas, sources wrote. A federal judge then remanded Ryan into custody on October 6, 2016.
The recently released details explain that he sold “pistols, revolvers, UZIs and Glocks.” Some, officials said, no longer displayed the serial numbers from the manufacturer. He either removed the serial numbers, changed them, or made them illegible. In addition to the firearms, Ryan sold magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Prosecutors wanted to know where he sold the guns. They knew that he used a website on the darknet but not beyond that—court documents revealed. He told the investigators and prosecutors that he sold on the Black Market Reloaded. And with that, his end of the plea agreement concluded and U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree sentenced the man to 52 months in prison.