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Update In German Vendor Shop Case: Six Suspects Sentenced To Prison

We have reported earlier that seven suspects who were allegedly running a vendor shop selling narcotics in Germany were standing trial in January. Now, the Duisburg District Court sentenced six defendants to prison and probation sentences.

According to the court information, the gang had traded drugs between 2012 and their arrest on February 23, 2016. Police reported that the six defendants were running a vendor shop on the dark web, where they sold narcotics to their customers.

Two of the defendants, both from Duisburg, who were only 18-years-old at the time, sold about 50 kilograms of drugs, including marijuana, amphetamine, and cocaine. During the investigation, law enforcement authorities uncovered that three of the men were responsible for the “drug business”, which consisted of narcotics procurement and distribution. The other three defendants were operating the technical side (eg. running the vendor shop on the dark web) of the business. Police added that the drugs were produced and packaged in an apartment in Duisburg, and were sent to the customers using the national postal service. The investigation uncovered that all payments on the dark web were concluded exclusively in bitcoins.

Additionally, a thorough police investigation showed that some of the defendants were involved in the sale of drugs in the streets too. In addition to that, law enforcement authorities claim that one of the suspects bought counterfeit euro bills and professionally falsified badges from the dark web. However, despite the progress of the case, authorities did not enclose with the public the exact name of the vendor shop, and the marketplaces or forums where they allegedly dealt drugs at.

“The foreclosed internet presence of the perpetrators had been brought up in a highly professional and market-oriented manner,” the chairman of the criminal chamber said at the end of the proceedings. Among other things, the investigation revealed special methods of the criminals, which they used to offer drugs in the form of a lottery or as a holiday coupon.

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden had been closely surveilling the criminals since 2015. The close analysis of the data investigators gathered from the dark web vendor shop led to the defendant from Hameln, and later, to the two Duisburg brothers. Undercover investigators placed orders for about 30 kilograms of amphetamine, which were sent out by the criminal group without hesitation. The accusation before the regional court was represented by the main public prosecutor for cybercrime in Cologne. When the list of the charges was read before the court, the prosecutor of the Cybercrime North Rhine-Westphalia Central Office (ZAC NRW) needed about three hours to read the 70-page prosecution sentence.

On April 5, for drug trafficking charges, the District Court in Duisburg sentenced three 20 to 30 years old men from Duisburg and Hameln to prison sentences or juvenile sentences between three years and four years and nine months. Three other, 22 to 24-year-old, defendants were sentenced to suspended prison sentences.

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