Fraudster who stole Sheikh's Rolls-Royce tried to buy grenades on web

Fraudster who stole Saudi Sheikh’s £97,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is guilty of trying to buy grenades from undercover FBI agent on dark web

  • Mohammed Humza, 29, of Watford, tried to buy grenades from FBI on dark web
  • Used login mh.nn243 on site Alphabay to make purchase to his home address
  • Was not in court to hear guilty verdict as he is believed to have fled to Pakistan
  • Humza was previously jailed for stealing a Saudi Sheikh’s Phantom Coupe Rolls-Royce worth £97,000 

Mohammed Humza, 29, from Watford, has been found guilty of trying to buy grenades from an undercover FBI officer on the dark web. He did not attend court and is believed to have fled to Pakistan (pictured in 2017)

A convicted fraudster who once stole a Saudi Sheikh’s Rolls-Royce has been found guilty of trying to buy grenades from an undercover FBI officer on the dark web.

Mohammed Humza, 29, from Watford, did not turn up for his trial after apparently fleeing the country for Kashmir in Pakistan while on bail, it can be disclosed.

He had been texting an online girlfriend in Preston, Lancs up to 250 times a day, while his wife and 17-month-old twins were at home, the Old Bailey was told.

Humza was found guilty of charges under the explosives substances act after paying for two fragment grenades, and agreeing to buy two more.

He later switched his attention to buying Semtex plastic explosives, claiming that he wanted it ‘for breaking a safe/vault.’

Using the login mh.nn243, Humza did not realise that he was actually discussing the purchase with an undercover officer from the FBI known as ‘Peter Agent’, the Old Bailey was told.

In March 2017, Humza was jailed for four years for stealing a Sheikh Mohammed Alibrahim’s Phantom Coupe Rolls-Royce worth £97,000 after filling out a DVLA form claiming he was the new owner.

Humza drove the supercar out of the Audley Street car park in Mayfair on April 18 2015 and went on to sell it to Shaks Specialist Cars in Huddersfield for £27,500 along with a BMW and a Mercedes, before attempting the same scam on a Ferrari, an Aston Martin and a Porsche 911.

A year later he began searching on the dark web for explosives.

Discussion began on July 14 2016 when the FBI officer received a message asking: ‘What’s the best price you can do for 2 grenades with postage to the UK?’

In March 2017, Humza was jailed for four years for stealing a Sheikh Mohammed Alibrahim’s Phantom Coupe Rolls-Royce (pictured) worth £97,000 after filling out a DVLA form claiming he was the new owner

The agent replied: ‘We offer good price, very popular that type of grenade. $125 each.’

Humza negotiated the price down to $115 by saying he would buy two immediately and another two the following week.

A sale listing was created for a fragmentation grenade and the sale was completed at 9.03 pm on August 6 when he put the funds into an escrow, a third party account, using the Bitcoin virtual currency.

Benjamin Holt, prosecuting, said: ‘This is not just idle chat. [The user] has actually made payment for the two grenades.’

Humza confirmed the delivery address using his neighbour’s name but his own home address in Fuller Road, Watford.

Three days later, on August 9, Peter Agent replied to say that another customer had just bought six grenades and they were out of stock, adding: ‘We sold grenades fast last week.’

Instead there was a further request on August 10, saying: ‘Just saw refund, thanks. When will you restock? Do you have Semtex with a fuse detonator?’

Using the login mh.nn243, Humza did not realise that he was actually discussing the purchase with an undercover officer from the FBI known as ‘Peter Agent’, the Old Bailey (pictured, stock photo) was told

When Humza was told that was ‘not a problem’ he said he needed a ‘new drop address’, suggesting he had got cold feet about using his home address.

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

The market place that Humza was using was called Alphabay and was eventually closed down on July 4 2017, along with a similar site called Silk Road.

The court heard there was no dispute that an individual, using the username mh.nn243, did attempt to buy two grenades from an FBI officer, but Humza denied he was using the account.

However, the court was told that the user name mh.nn243 coincided with the initials of Humza and his wife, the first part of his postcode and the number of his house.

He had also used the same numbers in the usernames for his bank accounts and an outgoing text message was recovered that had his name, address, and the email [email protected]

On July 14, the first time an approach was made to purchase the grenades, a Bing search was made by Humza’s mobile telephone for ‘F1 grenade.’

Analysis of his phone records showed that on the same day, the phone exchanged 125 messages with a woman stored in the handset as ‘Zeeshan Fish and Chips’.

Mr Holt said the pair were in ‘very regular contact’ and had a ‘bizarre relationship as at one point they seemed madly in love and at other that they had never met each other.’

His phone also had a response to a delivery message for ‘English cheese cake’ with the details mh.nn243/Alphabay, followed by the pin number for Humza’s mobile phone.

He had also logged into a website called adultwork.com and when the cursor hovered over the logout icon, the username was mh.nn2436.

‘That we suggest, provides a clear link between this defendant and the username mh.nn243. Could that be a coincidence?’ Mr Holt said.

‘Mr Humza’s case is that someone else was using his account on Alpha Bay. Either someone with whom he pooled the account or someone who was deliberately framing him.’

The judge, Mrs Justice McGowan, told the jury that Humza was not present in court.

‘The defendant has chosen not to attend his trial. It does not prove and has no part in proving that he is guilty of this offence.

‘However, it is important that you know that, not least because we do not try defendants in their absence.’

The jury deliberated for six hours and eight minutes to reach their decision by a majority of 11 to one.

Mrs Justice McGowan said sentencing would be put off for more information about Humza’s reasons for wanting a grenade, and whether or not it for was terrorism.

‘I have to consider before I pass sentence whether or not I can establish what purpose Mr Humza tried to get this grenade for,’ she told the court.

‘At the moment I simply don’t know and it will come as no surprise for you to know if it is for a terrorist purpose that puts it into a different category for sentence.’

Humza’s parents and in-laws in Birmingham said they had not seen him since June, the court heard.

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

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