In October of 2018, a raid operation by the Siegburg Police led to the arrest of 12 individuals after storage units and houses in Bonn and Sankt Augustin were found to contain an undisclosed amounts of flavored cannabis products, scales, vacuum sealers, packaging and mailing materials. The 12 arrested individuals were believed to be in connection with the investigation and members of a drug trafficking organization.
From the Cologne Public Prosecutor for Cybercrime, Zac Nrw, said organization operated a professional drug trafficking on the darkweb where they sold ecstasy and cannabis products through distribution to customers on the darkweb markets. The group was said to operate from their two storage units in Bonn and Sankt where high ranked members acted as the front-men on various darkweb markets taking orders and handling all the bitcoin payments as the low ranked members took charge of weighing, packaging, labelling and delivering of the package to mailboxes.
The group had gone unnoticed until a posted drug package was mailed back through the return to sender address arriving to said address belonging to an unsuspected individual with no ties to the trafficking organization. And minor side note here, but, getting caught from a return to sender address is like a comedy movie come to life.
The recipient then alerted the police and turned over the package to investigators who began surveilling mailboxes in the region and over time reportedly observed up to 200 drug packages dropped in unsuspected mailboxes per day, resulting in continuous surveillance which finally led to their base of operation and aided law enforcement to shut it down.
This was a well-oiled ring of drug dealers - big on distribution and sales
On the 30th of August 2018, the first trial against four of the suspects begun. The prosecutors disclosed that in a 10-month span the organization had accepted and processed more than 11,000 orders, shipping a combined total of 83 kilograms of marijuana and marijuana products and an undisclosed amount of ecstasy earning them almost 1.3 million during the whole operation.
On December18th - just a week ago, in a Bonn district court, a judge found all four defendants guilty but sentenced three of them to suspended sentences ranging between ten months and two years for aiding and abetting drug trafficking, the fourth defendant was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison on the charge of gang based drug trafficking. The last defendant is slated to serve his sentence in an open prison as he was allowed to spend Christmas at home by the presiding judge.
Currently ongoing are two other trials against the remaining eight arrested individuals and there is no telling how those will turn out.
Maybe it’s the festive season, or maybe they met with a lenient judge, however, if anything, the recent turn of events concerning punitive measures taken against darkweb sellers, users, or criminals have shown that the law will do just about anything to leave a deterrent for up and coming cyber criminals. So, stay safe out here.