Discussions surrounding the arms trade have occurred in corridors that correspond to those of the darknet business.
In the latest development of law and order, Paul Stellato, a 46-year-old man from Northamptonshire, England will be spending the rest of his life in prison following a court ruling earlier this month.
Stellato was apprehended by law enforcement officers in late-2016 for attempted arms trafficking.
It is said that the Northamptonshire man had tried to procure firearms from AlphaBay, a once famous darknet marketplace.
Additionally, investigations revealed that Stellato had used the profile name cocaineking247, which hitherto had been used to make cocaine purchases.
The operation to arrest Stellato was an undercover police expedition. Reportedly, the feds managed to penetrate the internal workings of AlphaBay, thus posing as potential sellers of firearms to trap their target.
Stellato ended up falling for the trick after attempting to buy grenades from a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent.
Stellato’s arrest exposed the shocking portfolio of a man whose exploits extended beyond the darknet arms trade.
Following his apprehension, detectives managed to confiscate a consignment of class A and B drugs, all of which were recovered from his house in Brackley.
Exactly one year later, Stellato was convicted of attempting to possess ammunition with an intention to cause harm to human life.
In the recent sentencing, Judge Adrienne Lucking QC echoed the culpability of the accused by stating clearly that the man had full intention to endanger innocent lives.
The judge clarified her rationale by citing the meticulous planning that was driven into the purchase of the ammunition.
The sophistication associated with the procurement of the weapon, coupled with the fact that crypto coins stand to be the preferred medium of exchange on the dark web, there was no denying that all the facts of the case did not exist by chance.
Furthermore, the definite movement of explosives must have been well thought of and considered by all perspectives.
The judge went on to describe a lack of remorse on the part of the defendant, and maintained that the full force of the law was necessary to serve justice to a man who had already been convicted before.
To place things into perspective, Stellato had earned a staggering record of 36 convictions for 171 offences that were committed in a span of 13 years.
Specifically, the man’s name had featured in criminal proceedings that included arson, assault, fraud and drug possession, among others.
An Intersection Between Arms Trafficking and the Dark Web
The dark web has played host to a lot of cases involving arms trafficking. This aspect has foundations that date back to the initial advancement of the digital age.
Quite obviously, the involvement of darknet corridors in maintenance of the weapons trade have revolutionized criminal environments across the globe.
Law enforcement and policy efforts continue to be affected by an increased involvement of the dark web in arms trafficking.
But, favoring the side of governments, the scale of dark web involvement in the weapons trade has not reached uncontrollable levels yet.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the integrity of the weapons trade networks are still contingent on the solidity of physical distribution channels.
Factually, the illegal transfer of weapons cannot entirely occur online.
This reality stems from the fact that most weapons are physical items that are conceptualized, assembled and transported offline.
But what exactly is the junction between the dark web and the weapons trade?
An understanding of this question is rooted in the specific details of internet use in arms trafficking. Online activities play three main roles in the illegal weapons business, as discussed below.
Rightfully, advertising stands to be the most important function of digital platforms in making the illicit arms trade prosper.
The dark web serves as a platform for establishing a connection between potential buyers and traders of illicit arms.
Darknet marketplaces and mainstream sites on the surface web have enabled arms traffickers to scout for potential clients online.
This aspect regards the physical locations of these people with respect to towns, countries and even continents.
Most arms traffickers buy their merchandise from online sellers that rule the darknet world. In this digital age, the ease of buying weapons online can be compared to merely shopping off a store counter.
This truth is brought about by the availability of a rich inventory of weapons in the online space, and is propelled by a significantly low degree of traceability in the law enforcement aspect.
With online purchases, it is mostly difficult for the police to track transactions to establish the sources and destinations of illicit weapons rings.
The sharing of technical information concerning weaponry is also another aspect of darknet activity.
This aspect extends right from the basic knowledge of weaponry to the application of various forms of arms.
In a nutshell, the dark web is host to sensitive data that, if found by criminals, may be used to create improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that may cause human death and destruction of property.
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