A 48-year-old software engineer from Scotland was sentenced to five years in jail after being caught trying to buy a gun online from the United States.
David Mitchell spent around £2,000 of cryptocurrency on 150 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a silencer and a Glock 9mm with magazine.
Major Success for the New Organized Crime Partnership
The case involving Mitchell has been hailed as the first major success for the new Organized Crime Partnership, whose goal is to build on the relationship between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Police Scotland.
The main focus of the Organized Crime Partnership is to investigate organized crime including human trafficking, child abuse and sexual exploitation, and the importation of Class A drugs and firearms.
U.S. border agents noticed the weapon hidden in a package addressed to Mitchell in his office in Dunfermline, Fife.
The Organized Crime Partnership in Scotland conducted an operation that put him under surveillance, while a fake package was sent to his workplace.
Police Scotland Specialist Crime Division Chief Superintendent Gerry McLean did not go into detail of how the weapon was made or what it looked like, but he said that Mitchell was convinced that he was receiving the items he ordered from the dark web.
Mitchell signed the packet and officers continued surveillance until he drove to his residence with the package.
When the man finally arrived home, officers entered with a search warrant to find the package opened in the kitchen, and the fake firearm under a couch in his living room.
Mitchell Allegedly Made the Purchase to See the Transaction Process
Mitchell did not share any information regarding his motivation for acquiring the weapon at the Edinburgh High Court in Scotland as U.S. Homeland Security was being informed of the incident.
The court heard he was supposedly driven by an obsession to find out whether the transaction was really possible via the dark web.
The defense said that Mitchell has a history of depression and other behavioral difficulties, and that he has been described as a reliable worker with no previous convictions. He was said to be a well-mannered individual who lived alone.
In court, Mitchell admitted to three firearms offences and was sentenced to jail for five years.
Judge Lord Pentland said that even though Mitchell claimed he had no intention of harming anyone, he still went to great lengths to obtain a potentially deadly weapon, along with ammunition.
The reason why Mitchell wanted a gun and silencer still remains unknown.
McLean stated that his sentence should serve as a reminder that organized crime offences will not be tolerated.
He added that the Organized Crime Partnership provides increased capability for the investigation and detection of organized crime and that they look forward to this program garnering further success in bringing offenders to justice.
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