A Bowling Green man accused of making illegal sales of weapons over the Internet to international clients pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Adam Joseph Bunger, 33, was arraigned on charges of illegal exportation of firearms, illegal shipment and transportation of firearms in foreign commerce, illegal delivery of firearms for transportation and shipment in foreign commerce and transporting and shipping firearms, in foreign commerce, with altered or obliterated serial numbers.
Bunger, who is out on bond, is scheduled to return to federal court Dec. 16.
An investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revealed that Bunger shipped disassembled firearms that were concealed within video game systems and other electronic items to foreign clients, with sales brokered on a retail website in a shadowy part of the Internet known as the “Deep Web,” according to court records.
A criminal complaint accuses Bunger of using the alias “John Smith” to ship a package to Australia on June 13 containing the disassembled components of a 9 mm pistol concealed within a hollowed Xbox video game system.
The package was examined by Australian law enforcement, who then arrested a person who claimed to have bought the weapon off a site called Black Market Reloaded, which is accessible only by downloading software that protects the computer user’s anonymity.
Australian police notified the ATF, which conducted an investigation that discovered that “John Smith” shipped three packages from Bowling Green on June 13, according to court records.
Through an examination of credit card records, investigators suspected Bunger of sending the packages, and the ATF requested that postal clerks in Bowling Green place a hold on subsequent packages from “John Smith.”
Postal clerks eventually intercepted shipments believed to have been brought to the post office on two later dates by Bunger under different aliases.
A criminal complaint states that the packages were destined for Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom and all contained disassembled firearms hidden in video game systems, DVD players and other electronic items.
Two different postal clerks identified Bunger from a photo lineup as the person who attempted to mail the weapons, according to court records, and Bunger was arrested Sept. 17.
Federal prosecutors now believe that Bunger had been illegally shipping firearms for nearly a year and that he made posts on another account on a “deep web” retailer that associate him with sales of marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, stolen credit cards and silver bullion.
He was released from Warren County Regional Jail under a $25,000 unsecured bond three days after his arrest.
If convicted of all charges, Bunger faces a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison.