By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, November 24, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George L. Beck, Jr, announced that Michael Albert Focia, age 48, of Montgomery, Alabama was sentenced on Monday to 51 months in prison for dealing in firearms without a license and two counts of selling guns to people who were outside the State of Alabama.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial and at his sentencing hearing that Focia was selling firearms on the non-publicly accessible portions of the internet, commonly referred to as the “dark web” or “deep web.” During the investigation, law enforcement agents determined that Focia had unlawfully sold and shipped at least 32 firearms to people all over the world including Australia and Sweden.
US Attorney Beck said, “Modern criminals often think that the secrecy provided by the internet gives them freedom to violate the law. This case proves them wrong and proves that even the most technologically savvy criminal, such as Focia, will be detected, prosecuted, and forced to spend time in prison when he or she uses modern technology to engage in old fashioned crime.”
Prosecutors presented evidence that Focia had used various ruses to hide his identity, such as placing false return address labels on packages, using aliases to send packages, falsely declaring the contents of the packages he was sending, and packing the guns so that they appeared to be computer hard drives.
This case was investigated by the ATF and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with the help of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross.
The Alabama Political Reporter is not qualified to give any legal advice; but as a general rule if you are actively buying guns to resell you likely need to get a federal gun dealer’s license (FFL). Legally shipping a firearm from one person to another person generally involves the participation of two Federally Licensed Firearm dealers.