A 35-year-old Kansas man admitted in federal court Monday that he had illegally exported firearms to overseas buyers in England, Ireland and Australia, according to court records.
Michael Andrew Ryan of Manhattan, Kan., also admitted that he used the “dark web,” or a hidden internet platform, that sold illegal drugs and other illegal goods, including firearms, that later were exported from the United States to several European locations.
Ryan, who also is known as “Brad Jones” and “GunRunner,” pleaded guilty in Topeka to five counts of illegally exporting and attempting to export firearms. He was charged last June in an 18-count indictment that said he had altered serial numbers and caused individuals to make straw gun purchases.
The exported weapons included handguns, semi-automatic rifles and a variety of ammunition. The dark web, which typically requires specific software to access, allows users to access peer-to-peer networks to communicate without being traced.
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“The fact that international firearms trafficking has reached Kansas shows the power of the internet,” acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said in a written statement. “This prosecution shows our law enforcement efforts are working.”
Ryan is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12 in Topeka.