According to mirror.co.uk: Gangs have always smuggled and dealt through the black market and other illegal venues of trade for weapons, drugs, and even money laundering.
However in today’s world, gangs are taking advantage of the newest illegal market, the Dark Net, and using the untraceable Bitcoin as their currency. While Bitcoin by design is an identifiable currency with a transparent ledger and log of transactions, the coin owners are never identified immediately and are generally left anonymous.
Gangs are taking advantage of this on the dark web and purchasing stun guns that can be 100 times more powerful than Tasers police carry on their person. These guns are being used in robberies and assaults all over the UK.
“[These stun guns are] cheaper [than firearms] and can be easier to acquire over the internet,” Deputy Chief Constable David Thompson said. He is the national lead officer for firearms.
In London, according to the Times newspaper, 249 stun guns were destroyed by Scotland Yard’s Central Exhibits Service in the last year, along with other weapons such as harpoons and cross bows.
These stun guns, some appearing to look like regular Apple iPhone devices are popular amongst teens and gang members, because they cost anywhere between £20 to £200. It is also popular to find these guns in open market stalls throughout Asia selling for £70. Surrey police seized two guns disguised as mobile devices as well as two powerful JSJ 811 Tasers that were all from China.
When entering the dark web markets like the former market Middle Earth, and adding the level of anonymity with the untraceable Bitcoin currency, using these hidden sites allows buyers to acquire a deadly weapon and have it sent directly to their home or a local PO Box address.
Because the Bitcoin has such a strong value too, sitting around $450 per coin, it is a hot asset to carry when shopping with dark web vendors. It has become one of the main currencies used to buy lethal products, including these powerful stun guns.
Of the stun guns seized by the Northumbria Police since 2014, 41 of them had been disguised as mobile phone, key fobs, and torches. One of these guns was deadly having a five million volt charge, which is 100 times more powerful than the average 50,000 volts Taser a policeman will carry.
In the same time in South Yorkshire and Rotherham, another 50 devices have been found, three of which were used in assaults, robberies and harassment that was racially or religiously motivated. West Mercia police confiscated 15 stun guns and in North Wales, two others were taken by authorities that appeared like cell phones. Such guns have also been discovered in Harrogate, Skipton, York and Scarborough.
In England, anyone found carrying a stun gun, faces jail time for possession of a weapon. It is unclear how many more stun guns will continue to appear in gang related violence and crime, but the police are aware of this growing concern.