Hyannis Man Sentenced for Purchasing Firearm and Silencer on “Darknet” Using Bitcoin
BOSTON – A Hyannis man was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with purchasing a firearm and silencer on a “Darknet Market” website, which provides anonymity to users to buy and sell illegal goods.
Justin Moreira, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In November 2015, Moreira pleaded guilty to three counts of being a felon in possession of ammunition and firearms. Moreira had a 2013 felony conviction in Barnstable County for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
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, a form of digital currency. 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 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.
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; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary B. Murrane of Ortiz’s Criminal Division.