In France, a former police officer was recently indicted for allegedly purchasing a firearm and ammunition from a source on the darkweb. Although the arrest occurred in France, United States law enforcement had identified the suspect before the package containing a firearm had even left the United States.
Like a recently sentenced ex-cop from Ireland who had purchased a pistol on a darkweb market, the French suspect—a 36-year-old from Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole—had been fired as a police officer for his conduct. Like the Ireland case, the conduct that ended the law enforcement career involved a crime. In Ireland, the crime was setting a car on fire after crashing it in an effort to avoid the blame. In this case, the Frenchman had left his post and assaulted a family member and several of his police colleagues.
After the event, the police chief terminated the man. A judge then imposed a five-year ban on firearm possession, stripping the former policeman’s ability to own or carry a gun of any kind. A judge imposed a second ban of the same nature that similarly prevented firearm and ammunition ownership. Then he became a sports coach in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. News outlets have not revealed information about his job beyond the fact that he coached sports in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines but sources who knew him spoke to the press about the man and his lack of known motive for purchasing a pistol.
“This lack of explanation is perplexing,” a source close to the case told a news outlet. One wonders what use was intended for this weapon—maybe he just wanted to have a gun and practice shooting [cans],” the source said, adding that for now, without further information, “it’s just a violent man who has been armed for an unknown reason.”
At an unknown date earlier this year, United States Homeland Security Investigations notified French law enforcement that a package containing a pistol had been purchased by an individual living in France. They knew, based on the address of the recipient, who had ordered the gun. And as is often the case, they most likely removed the gun from the package—assuming a real darkweb vendor had actually shipped the Frenchman a gun. The general rule with firearms on the darkweb is that law enforcement poses as the majority of the gun vendors on any given marketplace or form. Gun or weapon purchases usually end in a controlled delivery after law enforcement ships a decoy weapon instead of the real deal.
French media outlets have not revealed information about the details of the interaction between Homeland Security Investigations and French law enforcement. But law enforcement at the United States border have not intentionally allowed a package containing a firearm and ammunition to pass through customs and into the international mail stream. If the Frenchman had ordered the Glock 23 and 100 rounds of ammunition from a genuine darkweb vendor, Homeland Security Investigations agents would have replaced the gun and ammunition with decoys meant only as placeholders for a controlled delivery. In this case, though, the vendor was more likely a law enforcement officer than a genuine gun dealer. An inside source with an intimate knowledge for the case told French news outlets that “the person who ordered [the gun] was spotted while buying it at a darkweb site.” In the majority of scenarios, the police would not have learned the identity of the suspected gun buyer “while buying it at a darkweb site.”
French customs tracked the package from the United States as it headed to France. Once in France, customs seized the package. Customs officers and Plaisir police delivered the package and subsequently placed the former police officer in handcuffs and took him to jail. He refused to answer any questions asked by the police, including questions about the motive behind the purchase.
He is currently awaiting a court appearance.