Even as one high-profile firearms case opened in Sacramento federal court this week, another major case alleging illegal arms dealings and poison sales over encrypted Internet sites has been pushed back again.
James Christopher Malcolm, a Carmichael man facing weapons and explosives charges since May 2014, had his scheduled Thursday court hearing pushed back to Aug. 6 to allow attorneys more time to prepare their case.
The stipulation between prosecutors and defense attorneys marks the eighth postponement in Malcolm’s case since federal agents raided his Garfield Avenue home after they became concerned that he had become aware of their two-month undercover probe.
Malcolm, 30, has pleaded not guilty and is seeking a jury trial on four counts of suspicion of illegally possessing a machine gun and selling weapons and explosives. The postponement comes as prosecutors have opened a separate trial for a former Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy and federally licensed gun dealer on weapons-related charges.
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In Malcolm’s case, court documents say agents believed he was converting AR-15 rifles and Glock handguns into fully automatic weapons, and that he boasted of running an online business selling explosives and poisons.
He is not charged with selling such items online, but court documents indicate Malcolm is suspected of using the “Darkweb” – tightly encrypted sites accessible only with code names and payments by Bitcoin – to ship poisons to customers.
An FBI affidavit says Malcolm told investigators after his arrest that he used a website called “Black Market Reloaded” to “sell biological toxins, improvised explosives and firearms to purchasers throughout the United States.”
That site shut down in late 2013, shortly after the FBI closed down the Silk Road website, which offered drugs and other illegal goods and services for sale. The creator of the Silk Road site, Ross William Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison last Friday in a federal court in Manhattan.