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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hyannis Man Charged With Bitcoin Purchase of Firearm and Silencer on “Darknet”

BOSTON – A Hyannis man was charged today in federal court with purchasing a firearm and silencer on a “Darknet Market” website, which provides anonymity to users to buy and sell illegal goods.

Justin Moreira, 21, was arrested today and charged in a criminal complaint with one count of being a felon in possession of the firearm and silencer.  According to court documents, Moreira has a previous felony conviction in Barnstable County in 2013 for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

As alleged in the criminal complaint, a Darknet Market website is an online market that operates outside the parameters of the traditional Internet, allowing individuals anonymity to buy and sell illegal items, such as firearms and drugs.  Such transactions are often conducted for bitcoins.  The complaint alleges that beginning in January 2015, Moreira engaged a federal undercover agent in a series of online messages during which Moreira inquired about the potential purchase of several different firearms.  Ultimately, Moreira allegedly ordered a Walther PPK/S .380 caliber pistol and silencer from the agent for which he paid the equivalent of $2,500 in Bitcoins.  Moreira instructed the agent to ship the package to a Post Office box in Hyannis.  Federal agents monitoring the Post office box immediately arrested Moreira after he retrieved the package this morning.

The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald, made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary B. Murrane of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 2, 2015