Arms Traffickers Use Snapchat To Sell Illegal Weapons

August 22, 2019, 5:02 PM UTC

Snapchat, like many other social media sites, warns people it’s not to be used for illegal purposes. That has not some weapons traffickers from using the app to sell hundreds of illegal weapons.

Officials have charged at least three people with illegally selling firearms via the app, according to a comprehensive report in The Guardian. Anthony Reed, a 22-year-old Nevada resident, his roommate Rahsaan Faison, and Faison’s brother Julaan allegedly bought weapons in Nevada, which does not require background checks or records for private gun sales, then moved them to California. The weapons were then allegedly sold to people, including some with felony convictions who are prohibited from possessing a gun.

Included among the weapons was a Zastava AK-style pistol with a 30-round magazine, which is banned in California. Police say some of the weapons were used to commit murders and armed robberies.

Anthony Reed reportedly signed a sealed plea agreement and Rahsaan Faison pleaded guilty to firearms trafficking, says The Guardian. Snapchat declined a Fortune request for comment about the sales, referring instead to its terms of service and abuse report policies.

In the second half of 2018, the company says it received over 7,000 requests for user information from law enforcement officials.

The issue of gun sales through social media is hardly exclusive to Snapchat. Authorities have linked sales to other sites and apps as well, as traffickers look for ways to reach more customers and some states tighten gun control laws.

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