Man pleads guilty to international arms trafficking, money laundering

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Plainwell man has pleaded guilty to international arms trafficking and money laundering, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Benjamin James Cance entered his plea Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell in Grand Rapids, according to court documents.

Cance, 30, was indicted in August on charges of making illegal arms shipments, money laundering and possession of an unregistered machinegun.

As part of a plea deal in the case, the charge of possession of an unregistered machinegun is to be dismissed when Cance is sentenced by Bell on Jan. 15.

Making illegal arms shipments is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Money laundering carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors said Cance conducted sales of firearms to customers overseas using illegal internet sites referred to as the “darknet.” He then used electronic currencies, like Bitcoin, to hide the nature of his activities.

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