A drug dealer has been jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to attempting to purchase a grenade on the dark net.
Luis McMullan, 22, was caught following an investigation by the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police’s Organised Crime Partnership.
McMullan admitted to searching for the fragmentation grenade on a dark net marketplace, where illicit goods are traded anonymously for Bitcoin.
Many such marketplaces exist on dark nets, overlay networks on the internet which typically require special software to access.
The marketplaces function like black markets for customers to purchase illicit goods from vendors anonymously.
Although they typically require anonymised access through the Tor network, an anonymity network which has received funding from the US government, some illicit marketplaces have been run on the normal web.
Most marketplaces also offer escrow services to protect customers from being defrauded by vendors, but in a number of cases the marketplace administrators themselves have suddenly closed their sites down and disappeared with users’ Bitcoin.
McMullan also admitted to the Old Bailey that he paid for the grenade in full using Bitcoin.
The NCA confirmed to Sky News that McMullan was never in possession of the grenade. Following an investigation, he was arrested at his home in Tufnell Park.
During a search of the property, officers found 30 rounds of unfired hollow point ammunition, a small bag of MDMA, and 78 MDMA tablets stashed in a small box.
Officers also recovered two pen guns, firearms which resemble ink pens, which the NCA informed Sky News were capable of discharging the ammunition that was confiscated.
Also found were various offensive weapons including knives and knuckle dusters.
Spencer Barnett from the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “Luis McMullan intended to buy a fully functioning hand grenade online and whilst it’s not clear what his motivations were, this is an extremely dangerous weapon that has the potential to cause serious damage.”