A pair of Atlanta residents face severe federal government charges in relation to running an illegal firearm smuggling ring internationally with the use of darknet markets.
Federal agents are accusing 28 year old Gerren Johnson from Austell, Ga. and the 29 year old William Jackson from E. Point, Ga. have been utilizing the TOR service in order to sell firearms to over a dozen countries outside of the United States.
“Relying on the anonymity of the internet, these defendants hoped to circumvent federal firearms laws,” said the US Attorney John Horn in regards to the case.
The US court documents claim that beginning in June 2013 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF),along with several additional government agencies launched an investigation into firearms smuggling operations that the two suspects had been accessing the Darknet Market known as the Blackmarket Reloaded or BMR. The two men had been conducting their business under usernames “CherryFlavor” and “WorldWide Arms”. The investigation further showed that the two darknet vendors allegedly had sold several firearms to people outside the United States.
Special Agent Wayne Dixie of the ATF said “Organized criminal groups often rely on the availability of weapons to carry out their activities; thus, the market for illegal firearms around the world,”.
Trace interviews, Federal search warrants are what allegedly connected each of the firearms recovered from original purchasers in the Atlanta area, to the two darknet market vendors.
After a buyer purchased one of the firearms off the darknet market, the guns would then be hidden inside electronic devices and shipped off to the buyer in countries such as the UK, Australia or Canada. The firearms would initially be obtained legally using a website called “OutDoorTraders” then sold illegally over a darknet market and shipped out of the US through BlackMarketReloaded and other Darknet Markets operating at the time like Utopia and Agora Market.
The agents also uncovered some of the shipping information for over 50 parcels suspected of transporting the firearms and has since shared the obtained information with authorities in Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, and the Netherlands.
The two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury as of May 3rd.
Sherman Jackson and Brendan Person, of the CherryFlavor group have also been arrested along with other undisclosed members affiliated with the group selling firearms on the Darknet Markets.