Bavarian authorities scored big amidst an investigation into two darknet drug dealers in Dortmund. In addition to catching the suspects, law enforcement brought in a massive quantity of ecstasy pills—20,000. And the drug discovery, a news channel announced, “was only the beginning.”
Authorities revealed little in the way of the actual investigation. They reportedly struggled with the case until July 18. On that day, for an unexplained reason, police caught a break. A judge ordered the arrest of both suspects. Both native Dutchmen—a 20-year-old and a 34-year-old—operated what the police called a “shipping and production center.” Out of their apartment in Dortmund, the men shipped drugs across the globe.
Within a “couple of weeks,” the darknet drug vendors had shipped out hundreds of kilograms of amphetamine, police calculated. Furthermore, during the raid, police found at least 200 packages that were already prepared for shipment. No specific darknet marketplace was mentioned by the police. Currently, too few details exist to form a solid conclusion. But, based on the quantity of pills and various amounts of other drugs found at the apartment; the discovery of drug precursors; the weight of amphetamine shipped in only a couple of weeks; and the police’s seizure of Alphabay, the market options were slim in July.
The pair sold on one of the (then) top three markets, and after the fall of Alphabay, Hansa grabbed third place on the activity charts. Dream moved up to second place. And RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace) snatched first place, according to DeepDotWeb’s internal metrics. Law enforcement said the men mainly sold drugs to customers in Germany. They had ventured into neighboring countries, too, but not to the same extent.
That effectively cut viable marketplaces down to two. Dream and Hansa. Or both, given vendors commonly distribute on multiple markets simultaneously. But the chances of them selling almost exclusively within Germany while using the top Russian marketplace are less than minute. The Dream or Hansa question might be too general be subject to same type of reasoning. If these dealers had gone down as a result of the international “Operation Bayonet,” German police would have made it known. Europol and US agencies flex their darknet arrests. Dutch National Police demonstrated a similar flair after the Hansa takedown. German authorities avoid posting unnecessarily flashy seizure pages. However, they do post a boilerplate replacement homepage after gaining server access.
Likewise, they frequently mention the relevant hidden service in the press release. And not only during the takedown, such as the recent bust of the DiDW forums, but also the resulting arrests of these busts, sometimes even weeks later. The press releases connected to arrests of users of the child abuse forum known as Elysium all mentioned Elysium by name. Germany also—technically—played an integral role in the Hansa takedown. German authorities arrested three men for operating an illegal file-sharing website. Two happened to own Hansa. (This was unlikely a coincidental bust.)
With no mention of Hansa, Dream stands out as a more likely candidate. So far, we know of very few arrests of major Hansa vendors that occurred during the Dutch National Police’s brief stint as darknet drug lords. (The last batch connected to the DNP sold between May and June.) Of course, unless officials release more information, we will be left in the dark indefinitely. Another route to discovery involves waiting for the arrest of any number of the duo’s clients. Law enforcement, on the day of the arrest, seized 200 “letters” and seven packages that the men had prepared to ship. The packages and letters contained. “several” kilograms of amphetamine and 3,000 ecstasy tablets.
German police noted cooperation with other authorities. This could indicate a connection to a larger operation just as it could point towards the connection between the Dortmund Commissariat for Narcotic Crime and the Dortmund Prosecution Office.
In the “professionally organized” drug distribution center, the police also found more than 20,000 ecstasy pills, kilograms of amphetamines, and “a basic substance for the production of amphetamines.” The press release called the apartment a production center, indicating that the men produced amphetamine. Again, law enforcement left out this detail. Think of the ingredients in two or three of the common methamphetamine cooks. Police also left out any mention of lab equipment. The same goes for computer equipment.
Police president Gregor Lange concluded: “It is always terrifying to see criminals move around the darknet and do their business there. It is the professional investigation work of my criminal police officials and the good cooperation with other authorities Thanks to the fact that we were able to remove two of these offenders.”