National Crime Agency
Man tried to buy hand grenades on the dark web with bitcoins
The 46-year-old used the dark web to order the fragmentation grenades from a vendor and import them to the UK.
Stellato – who was jailed for 10 years in 1998 for arson with intent to endanger life – sent an image of an explosive to an associate, asking: “If I add shrapnel will it do a hole in a house?”
On 23 November 2016 Stellato, using the online profile ‘cocaineking247’, contacted the seller on the now closed-down AlphaBay market, asking if the advertised hand grenades could be delivered to the UK.
Two days later Stellato – who has 36 convictions for 171 offences - told the seller to send them to his flat in Manor Road, Brackley, Northants, and addressed them to a fake name.
He tried to cover his tracks and give himself a defence by telling the seller: “I blagged someone to get it delivered as they don't know what it is”.
He also wrote: “No matter what, these are not for terrorism affairs, domestic protection only”.
The total cost of the grenades was $370.48 which Stellato paid in bitcoins.
At Northampton Crown Court, he was convicted of attempting to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life. He will be sentenced on 16 February.
NCA branch commander David Norris said: “Stellato is a career criminal with a very long record and a history of violence.
“It is a frightening prospect to think what he could have done with three grenades.
“We worked tirelessly with our partners – including the FBI and Northamptonshire Police who helped us arrest Stellato – to keep these weapons away from him.”
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