An unnamed German user of the former Silk Road Marketplace and Outlaw Marketplace had been fined over €3,000 for ordering cannabis 17 times from dark net marketplaces. According to independent researcher Gwern Branwen, who the buyer just contacted, the customer’s 17 purchases varied from 1.5 and 7.4 grams of cannabis and the time frame when the purchases took place was between January and October 2013. Branwen also uploaded a letter from German law enforcement authorities in March 2016 detailing all of the transactions.
Dark web buyers are punished often by law enforcement authorities. However, those cases are mostly related to purchases of poison, weapons or anything highly illegal. There are only a few drugs cases (where there’s only small quantities) and most of those are related to “harder” drugs, such as MDMA or amphetamines. There are only a handful of instances where weed is involved.
It appears the customer, who always encrypted his address when sending it to vendors, was identified after German authorities busted a cannabis vendor who had kept records of all of the customers. Branwen thinks the police may have gone through records of the Silk Road server to find more of the customer’s purchases since he consistently used one username. However, it remains a mystery how the authorities discovered one of the customers’ orders from Outlaw Market, which is still running. The letter only says that “communications” from Silk Road were used. Branwen wrote this in a Reddit post:
“Can a buyer, in the absence of any intercepted packages or possession of illegal drugs, be prosecuted or otherwise get into trouble? At least in Germany, the answer seems to be yes.”
This case could show that even after buying small amounts of drugs from a long-closed down marketplace, law enforcement authorities still can get you.