Watford man who tried to buy grenades on dark web sentenced

A fugitive who tried to buy grenades and Semtex explosive from an undercover FBI agent on the dark web has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Mohammed Humza, 29, of Watford, failed to turn up for his trial in October and was found guilty in his absence.

He did not appear for sentencing at the Old Bailey and is suspected of travelling to Kashmir.

Prosecutor Ben Holt said Humza was still at large and was “very much wanted”.

‘Indiscriminate harm’

Humza was convicted of attempting to possess an explosive substance for unlawful purposes between 14 July and 5 September 2016.

Mr Holt said the grenades Humza tried to buy had the potential to cause “indiscriminate harm” and could have been lethal.

The trial heard Humza, going by the username mh.nn243, had approached an FBI agent posing as a seller on dark web trading site AlphaBay.

In a message to the agent in July 2016, mh.nn243 asked: “What’s the best price you can do for 2 grenades with postage to the UK?”

He then offered to pay $115 (£89) per piece for four grenades and discussed payment methods, the court heard. 

In the exchange the pair also talked about the price of delivery to Hertfordshire, but the deal was not completed. 

In early August Humza got in touch with the agent again and the pair agreed a deal for two grenades, the court heard.

On 6 August, mh.nn243 then transferred cryptocurrency funds to be paid once the deal was completed.

Jurors were told Humza arranged for the goods to be sent to his address in Fuller Road but under his neighbour’s name.

After being told by the agent that he was out of stock of grenades the user attempted to buy Semtex and a fuse detonator.

‘Doomed to fail’

Sentencing, Mrs Justice McGowan said although the deal had been “doomed to fail”, Humza “did everything in his power” to get the device.

It was said on Humza’s behalf that he denied being the person in control of the mh.nn243 username.

The court heard that Humza had previous convictions for fraud and theft, but no terror-related offences.

Police had tried to trace Humza and had spoken to his estranged wife, girlfriend, parents and in-laws. the court heard.

Humza is described as being 5ft 8in tall, of medium build and is known to have links to Birmingham, Luton and Rochdale.