Investigators from the Customs Investigation Office in Frankfurt am Main have seized a large number of prohibited items, including a total of 13 firearms, 1,361 pieces of cartridge ammunition, several brass knuckles, a butterfly knife, a steel rod and 80 prohibited pyrotechnic items in four preliminary investigations.
The investigators had been on the trail of the illicit weapons, ammunition and pyrotechnics because, among other things, a 39-year-old suspected arms dealer from Lübeck had unlawfully sold weapons via the so-called darknet to a 65-year-old from Ludwigshafen and to a 40-year-old suspect from the Tirschenreuth district (Bavaria).
In another case, they revealed the identity of another 39-year-old suspect from the district of Schaumburg (Lower Saxony), who also illegally acquired ammunition on the “hidden part” of the Internet. Here, the investigators also found during the apartment search that the suspect had made firearms himself.
The men suspected of the crime did not possess the necessary permits for the trade, manufacture and possession of weapons and ammunition.
The seizures were made between April 2018 and November 2020 during searches of the defendants’ homes and are the result of extensive and complex investigative work by an investigative commission of the Customs Investigation Office Frankfurt am Main, which has been taking targeted action against organized trafficking and smuggling of illegal firearms on the Darknet since April 2016. The four criminal proceedings are being conducted under the direction of the public prosecutor’s offices in Lübeck, Frankenthal, Bückeburg and the general public prosecutor’s office in Bamberg.
An order to pay a fine of several thousand euros has already been issued against the suspect from the Schaumburg district. The decisions in the other proceedings are still pending.
“The investigative successes make it clear that the Darknet is not a lawless space. Any person who commits crimes via the darknet must expect to be identified and prosecuted at any time,” said the spokeswoman for the Customs Investigation Office in Frankfurt am Main.
The seizures in detail:
Ludwigshafen: 1 handgun, 265 pieces of ammunition, 1 prohibited brass knuckles
Tirschenreuth district: 8 handguns, 1 rifle, 142 pieces of ammunition, 80 prohibited pyrotechnic objects
Lübeck: 855 pieces of ammunition, 1 prohibited brass knuckles, 1 prohibited butterfly knife, 1 prohibited steel rod, 1 prohibited laser aiming light
Schaumburg district: 2 handguns, 1 homemade shotgun with laser aiming light, 99 pieces of ammunition as well as weapon parts