Man Arrested after Attempting to Buy Firearm with Bitcoin

Nuno Teodoro

A Scottish citizen was arrested by police after attempting to buy a firearm on the deep web using Bitcoin. David Mitchell, a software engineer from Edinburgh, spent more than $2500 worth of Bitcoin to buy a Glock 9mm handgun from the United States. Together with the pistol, Mitchell also bought a magazine, silencer, and 150 rounds of ammunition.

The US and Scotland police collaborated in the capture of Mitchell, who has a history of depression and other behavioral issues. According to testimonies from the court hearing, he had an “obsessive preoccupation” to explore whether the transaction was possible via the dark web.

Today, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. While passing the sentence, the judge stated:

“You claim that you had no intention of causing harm to anyone but the fact remains that you went to considerable lengths to get hold of a potentially lethal weapon and ammunition. You must have appreciated that this was unlawful. For this conduct you must be punished.”

The case is considered the first major success for the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP), a new crime fighting unit that stems from a partnership between Police Scotland and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

US authorities intercepted the gun leaving the US and warned the Scottish police. The new OCP was then put in charge of the case, putting Michell under surveillance and sending him a replica of the gun to ensure public safety. Officers then followed Mitchell while he was driving home with the fake gun, and proceeded to arrest him once a search warrant was cleared.

Andrew Laing, deputy procurator fiscal specialist casework, stated:

"This was an organised and premeditated effort to bring an illegal firearm, ammunition and silencer into Scotland and the conviction and sentence granted for David Mitchell sends a strong message to others that this kind of criminal behaviour will not be tolerated."