Maltese Man Purchased Explosives and Poison on the Dark Web

~3 min read | Published on 2023-07-05, tagged Chemical-WeaponSentenced using 571 words.

A court in Malta sentenced a man to five years in prison after it found him guilty of attempting to import C4 explosives purchased through the dark web.

Jomic Calleja Maatouk

According to reports on the case against 36-year-old Jomic Calleja Maatouk, in addition to purchasing the C4 explosives, the defendant attempted to purchase polonium, ricin, and fentanyl on the now-defunct Berlusconi dark web marketplace.
Testimonies made during Maatouk's hearing by a police superintendent revealed that Maltese authorities initiated the investigation that led to the defendant's arrest after a US law enforcement agency informed them that a Maltese national was attempting to buy polonium, ricin, and fentanyl on the dark web.
The superintendent disclosed that between June and August 2019, Maatouk used the usernames "unknown 893", "2F108X’‘2", "Foxtrot108XRAY" and "MONIKER 2F108X" to get into contact with weapons vendors on Berlusconi. He also gave the vendor his proton mail email address.
He first got into contact with a polonium vendor who told him that polonium poison would cause death by pneumonia within two weeks. The vendor also explained that a package containing polonium would not be intercepted as it only emits alpha radiation which would not raise suspicion.
On being told that polonium is odorless and can't be tasted when used as a poison, Maatouk agreed to place an order. He even sent the vendor the height and weight of the intended victim to be used in the calculation of a fatal dose.
When asked how many doses he wanted, he said he would purchase five at the time but would order more later. The vendor told him they should start with one dose as five polonium deaths at the same time would raise suspicion.
After being asked to provide a shipping address, the defendant sent the vendor a UK forwarding address. Maatouk also told the vendor that he had a friend in the UK who could be interested in purchasing ricin. In the end, he sent the vendor 0.046 bitcoin as payment for one dose of polonium plus shipping costs.
A weapons vendor later contacted the defendant via email and told him that he had Glock handguns, suppressors, and C4 explosives for sale. The defendant expressed interest in the C4 explosives. The vendor sent him detailed instructions on how he would assemble the explosive and attach it to the target's vehicle using a large magnet.
The superintendent also told the court that he flew to an Arizona air force base where he witnessed US law enforcement replace the C4 explosive with a dummy in a Bluetooth speaker. Law enforcement then mailed the package to an address provided by the defendant. The package's final destination was the address of a showroom owned by Maatouk.
On making the controlled delivery of the package, the cops were surprised by Maatouk's refusal to sign for its delivery. Further investigations revealed that a supervisor at the logistics company used to ship the package had informed the defendant of package's interception.
Maatouk was as a result arrested and his car searched. The search resulted in the seizure of undisclosed drugs and several electronic devices. The electronic devices were forwarded to US authorities for forensic analysis.
On being released on bail, the defendant contacted the vendor and accused him of being an undercover agent. The vendor in return accused him of being a scammer.
In addition to the five-year imprisonment, the court ordered Maatouk to forfeit a total of €51,000 he had deposited as bail bonds.