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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Montgomery Man Sentenced for Selling Firearms on the Dark Web

Montgomery, Alabama - Michael Albert Focia, 48, of Montgomery, Alabama was sentenced yesterday to 51 months in prison for dealing in firearms without a license and two counts of selling guns to people who were outside the State of Alabama, announced George L. Beck, Jr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.

            The evidence at trial and at his sentencing hearing proved that Focia was selling firearms on the non-publicly accessible portions of the internet, commonly referred to as the “dark web” or “deep web.”  During the investigation, law enforcement agents determined that Focia had unlawfully sold and shipped at least 32 firearms to people all over the world—including Australia and Sweden.  The agents also learned that, in shipping these firearms, Focia had used various ruses to hide his identity, such as placing false return address labels on packages, using aliases to send packages, falsely declaring the contents of the packages he was sending, and packing the guns so that they appeared to be computer hard drives.

            “Modern criminals often think that the secrecy provided by the internet gives them freedom to violate the law,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck.  “This case proves them wrong and proves that even the most technologically savvy criminal, such as Focia, will be detected, prosecuted, and forced to spend time in prison when he or she uses modern technology to engage in old fashioned crime.” 

            This case was investigated by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Inspection Service, with the help of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross.

Topic: 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 25, 2015