To anyone feeling emboldened by the proliferation of online black marketplaces in the wake of Silk Road’s demise, take heed: a US man has been arrested for selling guns on the Tor-based site Black Market Reloaded.
As well as charges for selling firearms without a license, Matthew Crisafi, 38, of New Hampshire, is also being prosecuted for conspiracy to commit money laundering and smuggling goods from the United States.
After a hearing in New Hampshire he will be extradited to New Jersey to face the charges in that state.
Like illegal goods and services marketplace Silk Road, Black Market Reloaded also uses bitcoin as its sole means of transacting.
The rival site opened in April 2013, and almost immediately came under Department of Homeland Security investigation. It is still open for business.
Prosecutors allege Crisafi used regular US Mail services to ship a variety of firearms over a three-month period on Black Market Reloaded, including an AR-15 Bushmaster assault rifle to an undercover agent. Some of the weapons were mailed to New Jersey, in violation of that state’s laws.
Reuters quoted Andrew McLees as the Homeland Security Investigations agent who led the case:
“People who think they can hide behind a veil of an ‘underground’ website to buy and sell weapons illegally are mistaken… HSI will use all of our collective resources to track you down and bring you to justice.”
Black Market Reloaded has so far been the most popular successor to Silk Road, which was shut down in early October 2013 and its alleged founder/administrator arrested.
One month later, a site almost identical to the original Silk Road went online on Tor with a front page mocking federal justice authorities’ efforts. It claims to be far more secure than its predecessor.