A Fife labourer who used Bitcoin to buy a deadly Glock pistol promised to become a “big buyer” if the weapon was sent successfully to Scotland, a court heard.
Jack Whittle,25, bought a Glock 17 pistol and 150 rounds of ammunition.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how he asked the mystery seller to send it to his home in Buckhaven, Fife.
Whittle’s plan to become a repeat purchaser from the mysterious vendor were thwarted.
The court heard a US government special agent intercepted the gun in Buffalo, New York.
The American authorities tipped off the National Crime Agency in the UK, which created a “placebo package” to be sent to Whittle.
Plain-clothed, armed police officers then swooped and took him into custody hours after the package was delivered on February 2 this year.
Police seized Whittle’s phone and found incriminating messages between Whittle and the seller.
Prosecutor Bill McVicar said: “The exchange of messages began on December 23 2020.
“The accused asks what Glocks are in stock and the prices of same.
“The accused makes it clear that if the transaction is legitimate then he will be a big buyer in the future.
“The seller then confirms his order of a Glock 17/19 Generation 4 pistol at a cost of $1300, of one extended magazine for $65 and three boxes of FMJ ammunition for $120 for a total cost of $1485.”
After paying with the Bitcoin crypto-currency, Whittle asked about other weaponry.
Mr McVicar said: “The accused then asks how much for a Beretta with a suppressor with an extra magazine.
“The accused again reiterates that if the order goes smoothly he will be a regular customer.
“The accused states money is not an issue, that he likes Glocks and likes variety so will pay money for different kind of pieces and asks for the prices of various Glocks.”
Police examined the weapon seized by the authorities and found that it was in “working order”.
The story emerged after Whittle, of Eagle Road, Buckhaven, pled guilty to breaching firearms laws and being involved in the supply of cocaine.
By possessing a Glock pistol, Whittle breached legislation which states he should automatically receive a five year prison term.
He observed proceedings remotely from HMP Perth.
Mr McVicar told judge Lady Poole officers searching Whittle’s home found quantities of cocaine and MDMA, which they estimated had a maximum street value of £5,055.
Financial experts examined his bank account and found an “unusual” transaction for £1,150.
Mr McVicar added: “It is in line with current illicit market prices for the handgun, magazine and ammunition.”
Mr McVicar also told the court the Crown intends to bring a proceeds of crime action against Whittle. The case will call later this year.
Defence advocate Janice Green told the court Whittle was involved in dealing drugs to friends.
She added: “He was involved in social supplying.”
Lady Poole deferred sentence to obtain reports.
Whittle will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh next month.
Detective Inspector Tom Gillan of the Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland) said: “The illegal acquisition and possession of firearms will not be tolerated in Scotland and any such crime will be thoroughly investigated.
“The public can be reassured that the OCP will use all available means to remove threat, risk and harm from the communities of Scotland posed by organised crime.”
John Brown, Operations Manager at the National Crime Agency, said: “The NCA works relentlessly to prevent criminals gaining access to firearms, and to pursue those who use them to bring violence and intimidation to communities.
“This operation has seen a dangerous weapon taken out of circulation and is yet another great example of the NCA and Police Scotland working side by side to keep the public safe.”