Keeping Watch: Monitoring the Dark Web for Gun Sales

Keeping Watch: Monitoring the Dark Web for Gun Sales
Keeping Watch: Monitoring the Dark Web for Gun Sales

According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the dark web's accessibility to lethal items such as fentanyl is contributing to the ongoing crisis that has tragically resulted in the loss of many American lives. As emphasized by Professor Roderic Broadhurst, the ANU Cybercrime Observatory's lead author, guns are commonly featured as the standard sidearm in action movies and frequently utilized by law enforcement personnel.

According to Professor Broadhurst, the availability of guns on the dark web is a cause for concern. With many Glocks being sold, just one weapon in the hands of the wrong person can cause significant harm. Recently, a man was arrested for allegedly selling almost 2 million dollars worth of narcotics online. Authorities seized 450 pounds of suspected drugs during the arrest.

The Underbelly of the Internet: Finding Guns on Dark Web Onion Links

The Justice Department has a message for criminals who use the dark web to sell guns: No matter how hard you try to hide, we will hold you accountable for your crimes. According to a statement from Garland, commonalities among gun sellers on the dark web include the sale of both handguns and long guns, the use of bitcoin for payment, requests for PO Boxes for shipping, and specific methods of gun delivery.

of Justice recently heineken Express Market announced that law enforcement agencies in the US, Europe, and South America have confiscated 117 firearms and over $4 million in cash and virtual currencies as part of their ongoing efforts to combat the proliferation of fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs. While debates about gun control are often front-page news, there is an underground market for firearms that has largely escaped public scrutiny until now.

On the 12th of May, 2022, Holly Adams, aged 31, and Devlin Hosner, aged 33, both residents of Indio, California, were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to distribute and possess fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as for conspiring to launder money. It was found that over half of the handguns sold were Glock semi-automatic pistols. Investigators utilized scraping tools to anonymously track vendors selling firearms on single-owner websites hosted on Tor, a dark web browser, and to identify patterns of their operations.
In December 2021, the German police took control of the dark web marketplace's virtual infrastructure and collaborated with Europol and other global law enforcement organizations to track down "high-value targets" who were involved in the sale of drugs and illegal merchandise worldwide.

When browsing the dark web for guns, we stumbled upon a collection of mostly common handguns. It was clear that the sellers were based in Europe, but beyond their profile names, there was little information available about their identities. As Holt put it, it felt like standing on a Lego piece that simply wouldn't break.

"In the Shadows: The Underground World of Gun Trading on Dark Web Onion Sites"

According to the researchers, the costs of firearms on the dark web differ based on the type, caliber, and accompanying ammunition. Bitcoin is the most commonly used payment method for such purchases. The investigation, named Operation SpecTor, was conducted in various parts of the world such as the United States, Europe, and South America. The researchers also found that hybrid metal and plastic 3D printed components and sets are available for purchase online.

The US Department of Justice revealed on Tuesday that a massive investigation into online fentanyl trafficking has led to the arrest of 288 individuals, the confiscation of 117 firearms, and the seizure of 850 kilograms of drugs. The operation, which spanned three continents, targeted Hydra in 2022 and an online identity theft platform.

The US government has been cracking down on the sale of illegal firearms on the dark web, with more than 100 federal operations and prosecutions carried out by the Justice Department. The crackdown has resulted in the seizure of 457 firearms, including assault rifles, submachine guns, and handguns, as well as the arrest of 124 individuals involved in the illegal sale of guns on the dark web. The Justice Department has highlighted the significance of federal agency collaboration in tackling this escalating problem.

The Shadowy World of Firearms: A Deep Dive into the Dark Web Onions

Law enforcement officials have detained 288 individuals and confiscated 850 kilograms of drugs in connection with an inquiry into a virtual marketplace for narcotics. Though researchers cannot determine the identities of the buyers and sellers due to technology limitations, it is evident that the sales are authentic, have a global reach, and may breach significant government regulations and policies. In addition to the narcotics and firearms, authorities have also confiscated 4 million units of digital currency.

Dark web has become a notorious platform for illegal trade of firearms. Several law enforcement agencies, including Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have been working to crack down on this issue. On January 1, 2022, Anton Peck, a 29-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for conspiring to possess and distribute controlled substances, such as fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin. According to Garland, 153 domestic suspects have been arrested so far, including a man from California who allegedly sold nearly $2 million worth of fentanyl and methamphetamine on the dark web.

Working in coordination with Europol, a recent operation led to the confiscation of Monopoly Market, a dark-web marketplace known for selling guns. Surprisingly, the cost of these firearms did not differ significantly from legal purchases. The firearms can be assembled using 3D printing technology, but lack the unique serial numbers that are required on legally produced firearm frames.
The Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, heineken Express link and the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigative team collaborated on the matter of guns being sold on the dark web.

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