In Bonn district court, a judge sentenced three members of a drug trafficking organization to suspended sentences and one to a prison sentence of 70 months. The defendants had distributed 1.3 million euros worth of marijuana and ecstasy to customers on darkweb markets, prosecutors revealed at a previous hearing.
According to reports on the indictment by the Cologne public prosecutor for cybercrime (ZAC NRW), the conspirators operated a professionally organized drug trafficking operation. They sold cannabis products and ecstasy on the darkweb. The group operated from two storage units. One in Bonn and a second one in Sankt Augustin. The high-ranking members of the group handled vendor accounts on a number of undisclosed darkweb markets, accepted orders, and handled the Bitcoin payments. The other members weighed, packaged, labelled, and took the drug packages to mailboxes for posting.
The group came to the attention of law enforcement after one of the conspirators mailed an under-franked drug package. The package was returned to the return address listed on the package. The address belonged to someone with no connection to the drug trafficking organization. The unsuspecting recipient of the package alerted the police and turned the package over to investigators.
Police conducted surveillance at mailboxes in the region. Investigators reportedly observed that the traffickers had dropped up to 200 packages in mailboxes every day. Surveillance on the conspirators responsible for mailing the packages led investigators to the group’s base of operation.
In October 2018 the Siegburg Police raided storage units and houses in Bonn and Sankt Augustin owned by members of the drug trafficking organization. The raids led to the seizure of scales, vacuum sealers, packaging and mailing materials, and undisclosed quantities of flavored cannabis products. Law enforcement arrested 12 individuals in connection with the investigation.
Police placed the conspirators in custody for questioning. One of the conspirators gave the police a customer list with almost 10,000 names and addresses.
The trial against the first four suspects started in August 30, 2018. The prosecution revealed the traffickers had accepted and processed more than 11,000 orders in 10 months. They shipped a combined total of 83 kilograms of marijuana and marijuana products as well as an undisclosed weight of ecstasy. They earned “almost” 1.3 million euros during their operation.
On December 18, three defendants were found guilty of aiding and abetting drug trafficking. The judge handed down suspended sentences ranging between ten months and two years.
The fourth defendant was found guilty of gang-based drug trafficking and was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison. The presiding judge allowed the defendant to go home for Christmas and serve his sentence in an open prison.
Two other trials against the eight remaining defendants are ongoing.