Hampton man pleads guilty to selling guns to federal agent
BRENTWOOD — A Hampton man admitted to selling firearms through an underground Internet marketplace months after a raid at his home by Hampton police and federal agents.
Matthew Crisafi, 38, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New Jersey to a count of selling firearms without a license as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The plea agreement will allow him to avoid charges of money laundering and smuggling firearms from the United States.
Crisafi is expected to be sentenced in the federal case in October and then plead guilty to drug possession charges pending against him in Rockingham Superior Court. Police found steroids and marijuana during the Nov. 7 raid at Crisafi’s home, prosecutors said.
Terms of the deal in the federal case have not been made public.
Federal agents and Hampton police arrested Crisafi following a monthslong investigation into illegal sales of firearms through a TOR network — software used to provide anonymity online.
Crisafi tried to conceal his identity both online and in person when he brokered his first sale with an undercover federal agent, investigators said. He used the post office in New Castle — about 14 miles from his home — to avoid detection from law enforcement, according to a search warrant.
Crisafi allegedly agreed to sell a Smith & Wesson .380 semi-automatic handgun in May 2013 after spending weeks negotiating with a federal agent who was posing as a buyer.
The gun was being offered for sale on the underground Web marketplace Black Market Reloaded, court records say. Investigators compare the online marketplace — only accessible via specialized software — to a version of eBay or Amazon that sold weapons illegally.
Crisafi was paid $3,300 in Bitcoin for the first transaction, but unwittingly sent the gun to an address affiliated with an undercover operation being carried out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Special Agent Ryan Landers said in a sworn affidavit.
Once Crisafi sold his first gun to his unknown buyer, he agreed to sell three more firearms, which included a Glock Model 26, a KelTec .32 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a Norinco SKS 7.62 semi-automatic rifle.
He offered to sell all three weapons for $8,500 total, investigators said.
Crisafi, who owns an independent trucking company, arranged to ship the weapons through New Jersey en route to Thailand, according to Landers.