Three members of a darknet trafficking group were arrested and arraigned in a District Court in Mainz. They were arraigned in court for drug trafficking. Investigations into this group took place in Ravensburg in the beginning of the year. The cartel, which is made up of five members was unmasked and its members arrested. Further investigation revealed that the group was doing darknet drug trafficking with different identities.
After a month of investigations, it was clear that the group had an office which served as headquarters in Ehingen where the police officers did further surveillance.The three who were arrested were the ages of 25, 31 and 54 respectively and they were all from Bayern. The package the criminals had, contained:
- 500 grams of heroin
- 5 kilograms of amphetamine
- 1,100 ecstasy pills
The drugs were valued to be more than 130,000 euros in value according to the prosecutor’s office. Police posed as customers from the darknet and that is how they managed to get hold of them. The accused were tried in Mainz since the transactions they engaged in took place there.
“The orders and payment of the drugs, however, could not be traced since that happened on the darknet. On the darknet, most of the transactions still remain anonymous,” said a police officer who helped on the case. “Despite the anonymity of the darknet, there are groups that have been arrested for doing illegal business on the darknet marketplaces. The government has introduced high penalties for those who are found doing illegal businesses. We are on the trail of those selling killer drugs on the internet,” he concluded.
The three were imprisoned with the least getting a sentence of two years and three months. The highest jail sentence they received was six years six months. The prosecutor was the one to determine the sentence through a motion. One of the defendants confessed but he could not be pardoned. Compared to the others, his term was short and still punishable.
As much as the darknet has a lot of anonymity, there are still laws that can be enforced to create some control. The German Justice Minister Kutschaty is advocating for strict laws to be employed. These laws are to help the government fight against the sale of illegal drugs on the darknet. According to the Justice Minister, new laws will help identify and seize darknet criminals more easily.
He was suggesting that tough punishments should be introduced since cyber criminals are harder to trace. “Getting information on cyber criminals is tougher than the normal criminals. This is even harder for those operating on the darknet,” he told a group of reporters.
One law that was introduced is Crime as a Service (CaaS). Hackers who will be found offering illegal services will face the law. It is punishable under law to aid and abet criminals in their activities. The Justice Minister also suggested the closure of top darknet markets like Silk Road 3. “These markets should be closed. It is in these marketplaces where many illegal businesses take place,” he said.
“Germany will be on the forefront in fighting illegal activities on darknet marketplaces. We intend to lead the global campaign on online drug trafficking. We have recently seen an upsurge of online crime in the country. For example, there is a criminal who bought a firearm from the darknet. He then used it to kill a civilian and boast about it on the darknet. The vendor who sold him the firearm confessed and is now working with the government. This former darknet vendor revealed secrets of the darknet and even helped the government to track more firearms. We intend to step up efforts around this,” the Justice Minister continued.
“Because the darknet is rather complicated, the people should cooperate with the police in tracing criminals. The same way the police pretended to be customers, so can anyone track illegal criminals on the darknet. There is still hope that cyber crimes and illegal online businesses will reduce. Because the world is an evolving technology, there are those who are working on unmasking online culprits. We have set up departments solely for this purpose. These will help in tracking the activities of the darknet, ” he concluded.
Despite all of this, it should be noted that the darknet and its associated marketplaces are not just centers for criminals. Indeed, some of these markets have been set up as legal business entities. They engage in transactions that are legitimate and productive to their economies.