Express & Star

Gun parts importer 'influenced by TV and video games'

A recluse who tried to import gun parts to the Black Country may have been influenced by television and video games, a court heard.


Moynul Haque, aged 21, arranged via the internet for the barrel and slide of a Glock 9mm pistol to be delivered to his family home in Smethwick from the USA.

But the parts were intercepted by the United States Department of Homeland Security and never made it to UK shores.

This week Haque was given a 10 month prison sentence having admitted attempting to import prohibited items - but mystery still surrounds what his motives had been.

A hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court heard he had paid around £900 for the items using digital currency 'bitcoin'.

Prosecutor Philip Beardwell, said: "There is no evidence he was part of a network or received money to buy the parts on someone else's behalf.

"There is equally no evidence of any links to terror groups. It is a very curious case."

Haque's defence counsel, Shiva Misra, said his client had been unemployed when he made the order and spent a lot of time 'at home playing video games.'

He added: "He is perhaps somewhat reclusive, yes. It is also suggested from the pre-sentence report that the resources where he has derived this idea from could be television and video games, and there may be an element of truth behind it.

"This is indeed a peculiar case. I submit ultimately he has quiet simply not thought through the full extent of what he is doing when ordering the parts."

The court heard Haque purchased the goods from an American man via the dark web, a secretive section of the World Wide Web used for criminal activity.

Homeland Security agents were investigating the US citizen, and in April last year followed him to a post office where they intercepted a parcel addressed to Haque's home in Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick, where he lived with his parents and three siblings.

The parcel was labelled as containing a radio but in reality housed the gun parts ordered by Haque.

This information was passed onto the National Crime Agency in the UK and Haque was arrested at his home on May 5 last year.

Mr Beardwell said it appeared Haque had been 'ripped off' and had paid way over the odds for the gun parts.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Peter Barrie, said: "You turned £900 into bitcoins to pay. Spending that sort of money by someone not in work is not something that can be treated as idle curiosity or as the result of trying to look cool with friends. I find it all rather baffling."

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