The Thuringian State Criminal Police Office arrested a pair of darknet dealers in late 2016 for narcotic trafficking in as many as 4,000 separate cases. Like many modern vendors, they attracted police attention after the post office returned one of their packages to a random recipient who, in turn, gave the package to the police. The package lacked the proper postage. In mid-December, 2017, judges handed prison sentences to both defendants.
According to evidence presented in court, police arrested a couple from Breitungen in late 2016 but started the hearings in August 2017. The suspects, a 31-year-old man and his 19-year-old girlfriend, had distributed eight kilograms of marijuana and amphetamine to buyers at undisclosed darknet markets. They had earned $190,000 through the drug distribution alone. The drug sales provided only part of their income, though; the 31-year-old received charges for selling data from more than nine million hacked email accounts.
For two years, the Thuringian State Criminal Police Office said, the 31-year-old had collected personal information from nine million email accounts and sold it—in bulk—to data brokers on the darknet. He had collected 10,500 PayPal accounts, 4,500 Amazon accounts, 2,300 eBay accounts, and 12,000 ‘eBay classified’ accounts. Investigators discovered that he had collected stolen data since 2014. The fraudster phished the credentials of email and banking accounts. Other information often came from the hacked email account itself.
During the raid at the couple’s house, the police found cell phones, notebooks, hard drives, two kilograms of marijuana, 600 grams of amphetamine, 200 grams of cocaine, and 100 grams of heroin. Recovered data revealed that the duo had sold 17 different types of drugs to a minimum of 2,000 customers on the darknet. They also sold drugs on the clearnet and on the street. The Thuringian State Criminal Police Office investigated the data seized during the raid and found 22 buyers living in Thuringia.
In court, the 19-year-old earned the court’s favor by filing a full confession of her involvement in the operation. She played a less significant role in the business, the court heard. She said that her tasks involved preparing packages for shipment and shipping the packages once she had completed the orders. She received a sentence of one year in prison, but since she had already spent one year in jail, the court suspended her sentence.
The 31-year-old fared quite differently. He had committed several crimes in the past and, at the time of the 2016 arrest, had still been on parole from a prior conviction. His arrest inherently constituted a parole violation. He had also controlled the operation’s online element and played a much larger role in the criminal enterprise. The court sentenced him to 12 years in prison and a $260,000 fine.