In Schwandorf, a locale to the North of Germany and closely attached to the Naab river, an over 50 years-old man faces prosecution for purchasing artillery over the dark web. According to reports by police, the man is alleged to have acquired for himself, illegally though, weapons such as guns and revolvers. Unfortunately, or fortunately, he was found out and presented in court to confront the allegations filed against him.
The dark web has been known as a marketplace for dubious deals. It is a hidden platform where clients can buy whatever thing they need illegally without being arrested. Therefore, it has grown to become a den of thieves and a hotbed of illegal activities. Purchases in the dark web cover drugs of every caliber and banned substances and, most recently, weapons like guns.
The Collapsed Alphabay
According to reports, the arrested man acquired his goods from Alphabay, a former well-known dark market platform. From its inception in September 2014 to about the time of its closure, the site had acquired so much popularity and fame boasting a user population of about 400,000. Alexander Cazes, the alleged pioneer, was arrested during its collapse and died in his cell a few days afterward.
After its collapse, the site left behind a trail of its heinous activities affecting such companies as Uber. Having by far outweighed the previous top gun, silk road, Alphabay was poised to be the greatest and was well on its way if internal errors had not intervened and brought down the uprising site.
The greatest allure of the dark web is the promise of secrecy and anonymity.
Participants hope against hope that the shady deals they involve themselves in will in no way be traced back to them. No wonder, the dark web has an ever-growing number of users. All these rely on the confidence that they will not be exposed. However, eventually, some of them end up getting caught as is the case with this man from Schwandorf.
The arrested man gave his confession to the attorney general by the name of General Bamberg. Bamberg, later on, confirmed that the suspect would have to appear before the district judge to answer to other charges that stem from his purchase and possession of illegal firearms as per the law on weapons.
The District Court in the person of its Director affirmed that this was a first of its kind. The court had never before handled a case involving buying of guns online. Ewald Ehrensperger, the Court’s Director, said that while this case was new for them, examples of illegal online transactions in the dark web were not unheard of. Drug purchasing was a widespread occurrence. When a user’s laptop was keenly tracked, it would expose the identity of the perpetrator and any other involved parties.
Way back when the dark web was in its infancy, and all through its growth period, it was hidden from the scrutinizing eyes of the law enforcement officers. However, that is no longer a plausible argument. Cops now have access to it as part of the project to hunt down criminals in its environs.
These officers, under different aliases, patrol the hidden markets. They disguise themselves as customers to arrest unsuspecting traders. The process is tiring and hectic, but the results are worth the effort as evidenced by this case.
As far back as 2014 and 2015, the man’s tracks were placed under the radar of the authorities, were the confirmations of Thomas Goger, an attorney working as a spokesman for the Central Cybercrime. After his arrest, officers confirmed that the man had bought three types of guns one of which was a revolver. Additionally, he was found in possession of up to 170 cartridges.
Hard to Trace Transactions
Tracking down weapons trafficked over the dark web is a rigorous affair that isn’t for the faint-hearted. Usually, the guns are completely dissembled and then transported individually. Different parts of the guns coming in at different times are hard to track and put together to establish what exactly they are and where they are going to. Having fooled the authorities, they make their way to the buyer. Upon receiving them, the buyer will put them together just like solving a jigsaw puzzle.
The use of cryptocurrencies further complicates the work of customs officers. Purchases made using Bitcoins as an example can very rarely be traceable unless of course for common human slips here and there, then the cops can have a breakthrough to track down and apprehend the suspects. Nevertheless, it does not mean that those using the dark web are immune from arrests.
Due to the rising number of illegal firearms in the area, the district officials gave leeway for those in possession of them to surrender them with the promise of a waiver of penalty. Over 150 weapons were collected after the call, many of which were classified as illegal. Others were just old trophies passed down from one generation to the next.