In Belfast, a High Court case took a surprising twist when the prosecution made their argument. The Gardaí arrested three men several months ago for attempted purchase of illegal weapons from the darknet. One of the men, Thomas Morgan, received no bail, but his co-defendants saw a completely different situation. Despite his claims that he played no role in the affair, the prosecution claimed just the opposite—that the firearms belonged to a much larger case against a gangland feud in the area.
While the connection was news to Morgan, so was the next piece of evidence provided by the prosecution. Crown lawyer Fiona O’Kane revealed that the weapons vendor on the darknet—the one the three defendants unsuccessfully bought guns from—was actually the police all along. According to O’Kane, law enforcement controlled an entire “fake-arms selling operation” on the darknet.
This came at an interesting time for Irish law enforcement: the ongoing gangland feud in Carrickfergus caused a difficult weapons problem for the government. More recently, U.S. Judge Daniel D. Crabtree of the District of Kansas sentenced Michael Andrew Ryan, aka Brad Jones and GunRunner to 52 months in prison. He sent weapons across the globe, but with a special focus on Ireland. According to the District Attorney’s Office, “dozens of firearms, including pistols, revolvers, UZIs and Glocks, some from which the manufacturer’s serial numbers had been removed, altered or obliterated, as well as magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.”
He gave up his vendor information and, as with Germany, this could have improved law enforcement’s skill at DNM vending. Specifically weapon vending. The government kept some of the court documents in the US v. Brad Jones case washed, for now. The plea deal mentioned that Jones submitted information; we simply remain unaware of what he fully submitted to the government.
The Court charged Morgan with conspiracy to possess firearms in suspicious circumstances. Furthermore, O’Kane claimed that one of the co-defendants agreed to buy two Glock handguns from the darknet weapon vendor. Two unspecified models for little over $3,000. Both co-defendants managed to avoid their name slipping out during the hearing. Oddly enough, the darknet marketplace vendor preferred to meet clientele in person.
Almost every weapons bust DeepDotWeb has covered has shared this commonality.
The first defendants—the ones with a set bail—planned to buy the Glocks during mid-February. According to O’Kane though, the police arrested them beforehand. Law enforcement only arrested Morgan after reading text messages on one of the co-defendant’s phones. She claimed the text message linked the darknet arms trade to the gang wars in the Carrickfergus area.
One of the text messages on Morgan’s phone, according to the Crown Prosecutor, read “We want as many as he can supply, but we need to check things over before we hand over cash.” This text, she said, fell between several death threats that date back to 2014. Morgan argued that if she allowed a full contextual read of his texts, she would have seen that the texts were all jokes.
Mr. Justice Deeny denied Morgan a bail hearing and added that “Glock sidearms cannot really have anything but a sinister connotation, in the situation where it’s sought to acquire them here.”