In May 2020, investigators of the Hamburg Customs Investigation Office arrested a 42-year-old German man who was considered one of the top 20 darknet dealers in Germany and is said to have sold various types of narcotics in not small quantities under a pseudonym.
As part of a large-scale operation involving special units of the Customs Investigation Office and support staff from other authorities, investigators searched apartments and commercial property in Hamburg. In the process, various pieces of evidence, such as narcotics of various kinds as well as electronic storage media, were seized and high value assets were secured.
The public prosecutor’s office in Hamburg had initially requested a surveillance of the presumed main perpetrator and the seizure of mail. Subsequently, protracted and complex investigations by the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office and the customs investigation office on the trading platforms in the so-called Darknet, regarding the payment methods of the crypto-currencies often used in these drug transactions (for example so-called Bitcoins) and the letters posted by the presumed main offender in various mail distribution centres for the dispatch of the drug to the recipients resident in Germany and Europe, presented the investigators with great challenges.
The accused had sent 300 to 400 letters a week containing drugs of various kinds after they had been ordered in his Darknet shop. Thousands of positive reviews from buyers in the various Darknet platforms testified to the “reliability” of the hamburger and also showed that he had obviously been running this type of business for a long time.
On the day of the arrest and searches, the accused was loading about 180 letters in his car when a special unit of the Hamburg Customs Investigation Office intervened. These letters, which contained drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamine, the perpetrator intended to take to a post office.
The Hamburg citizen stored different types of drugs such as marijuana, hashish, cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy and amphetamine in the premises rented especially for packing the drugs, in order to be able to pack and send them “just in time” in the envelopes. He used various post offices in northern Germany for the dispatch.
Frank Nielsen, spokesman for the Hamburg Customs Investigation Office: “This procedure shows once again that the customs investigation department is well positioned in the fight against cross-border drug crime and that the trade in drugs in the so-called Darknet, with its anonymisation and encryption, is also being uncovered and investigated.
The further investigations against the orderers and purchasers of the drugs, the evaluation of the seized computers as well as the financial investigations are ongoing, therefore no further information can be given beyond this press release.