Germany: Police Arrest 28 Darknet Drug Buyers in Single Operation
Although the raids and arrests on July 25 only lasted a few hours, the investigation of dozens of darknet drug buyers began in late 2017, German customs (Zoll) said in a press release following the arrest of nearly 30 suspects only hours after the raids. The Zoll investigation culminated in a multi-agency raid in Neubiberg, Ottobrunn, Neuried, and Munich. More than 110 law enforcement and customs officers arrested 28 suspected drug buyers. The strike against drug traffickers succeeded, Zoll said.
Is there a connection between this ongoing operation and the warning from Berlin Customs regarding the upcoming arrest of hundreds of darknet drug buyers?
The customs involvement indicated that many suspects had ordered packages that customs had intercepted. And according to the announcements from different law enforcement agencies that participated in the raid, intercepted packages of drugs led to the arrest of the majority of the suspects. A total of 20 suspects had allegedly ordered a total of 40 grams of MDMA; almost 700 ecstasy pills; 600 grams of amphetamine; 115 grams of marijuana; 4.5 grams of cocaine; 50 LSD tabs; and 28 Ritalin tablets.
Customs played an essential role in the identification of the remaining eight suspects who had never lost a package to customs, though. The remaining eight, Zoll wrote, had a connection to darknet drug vendors that customs agents already busted. Not only had customs arrested the dealers, but they had also successfully extracted customer lists from the vendors.
Although the raids resulted in the arrests of 28 suspected darknet drug buyers, customs reportedly targeted 32 suspects. Even though they failed to capture everyone on their list, they arrested 28 suspects with precision. For instance, the first 14 arrests occurred in the first 15 apartments checked. Only one was empty. All 28, customs wrote, were surprised by the police’s sudden presence inside their apartments and houses.
The search warrants led to the discovery of massive bags of drugs, electronics, “weapons,” and cash. The total number of seized drugs were not released but officials revealed the findings from some of the apartments they searched. This list included 215 grams of cannabis, seven grams of mushrooms, 7 grams of heroin, 25 grams up amphetamine, and more than 2, 500 ecstasy tablets. Many suspects had “several knives” and police revealed that some of the knives were “butterfly knives.”
The drugs and knives listed above came from the houses or apartments of only 10 individuals. In those 10 suspected drug buyers’ homes, the police also found paper documents, desktop computers, laptops, cell phones and other data storage devices. Investigators believe the digital devices contain evidence linking some of the suspects to other drug buyers or drug vendors. Forensic investigators will analyze the seized equipment to “obtain records on further drug trafficking, in particular other suppliers and customers.”
The investigation is ongoing.