A GWENT criminal used the dark web to import a gun and bullets from America because he had a “fascination with gangsters”.
Lewis Griffiths was caught after armed police arrested him following a tip-off to the National Crime Agency from law enforcement colleagues in the US.
He was found with the Glock 19 pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition just after it was delivered to a vacant building in Caerphilly.
The defendant had used cryptocurrency Bitcoin to buy the gun for £850 and was in debt to drug dealers, Newport Crown Court heard.
Police analysis of Griffiths’ phone revealed he had recently watched a documentary series called British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld.
The programme focuses on the UK’s most notorious villains.
The 28-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition for a firearm without a certificate on August 11.
Griffiths admitted the offences but on the basis he had imported the gun “with the sole purpose of using it to take his own life”.
The prosecution, represented by Tim Probert-Wood, refused to accept this basis of plea.
The court heard Griffiths had performed online searches around the time for infamous criminals like Charles Bronson and Mickey Green and his ‘Wembley Mob’ of armed robbers from the 1970s.
Mr Probert-Wood asked the defendant: “Do you have a fascination with guns and gangsters?”
Griffiths, represented by Emma Harris, denied this and maintained he bought the gun and bullets because he wanted to take his own life.
The defendant said he was feeling suicidal following the death of family members and after his mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
He admitted he used cocaine and cannabis and was in debt to drug dealers.
Judge Richard Williams dismissed Griffiths’ basis of plea and ruled it was “imported for an unlawful purpose”.
He said: “The defendant went to considerable lengths to source and acquire a Glock 9mm gun and 50 rounds of ammunition from the US by using the dark web.
“It was paid for by using cryptocurrency and it was delivered to a vacant property which he had access to.
“It was a carefully planned and well researched attempt to acquire a firearm from the USA.”
The judge added: “The defendant was interested in the criminal underworld and involved in drug trafficking as a consumer.
“He was indebted to drug dealers.”
Judge Williams said Griffiths, of Hillside Avenue, Abertridwr, Caerphilly, was an “intelligent and devious” man.
Sentence was adjourned to Monday and the defendant was remanded in custody.