Monday, February 20, 2017

Three Bavarians Arrested For Darknet Distribution, Used the Name “White Dragon”

The Mainz Regional Court, in early February, became the battleground for a fight between three darknet vendors and law enforcement regarding the legality of the police’s investigation. The investigating agencies—The Regional Center for Cybercrime (LZC) of Koblenz, the Mainz Investigative Group of the Landeskriminalamt (State Police) in Rheinland-Pfalz, and the Customs Investigation Office of Frankfurt—used “secret investigation methods,” the defendants argued. Their requests to read the discovery or hear the methods used in the investigation never passed the 3rd Criminal Court, Andrea Krenz from AZ news wrote. Illegal investigations and evidence gathering rendered the entire case invalid, the defense argued.

The argument is not dissimilar to those heard during many of the Operation Pacifier court cases. The FBI’s illegal hacking faced worldwide criticism and nearly ruined several cases against users of the child pornography site PlayPen.

A father and his 31-year-old son from Regensburg, Bavaria, bought and resold on the darknet, prosecutors claimed. Along with the father and son duo, prosecutors with access to the “secret investigation methods” said, was a third member of the group who also lived in Bavaria. Prosecutors never mentioned the third member’s city of residence and showed less interest in his involvement—and accused him of playing a lesser role in the Bavarian group’s darknet operations.

The father and son, according to the prosecution, sold drugs in a total of 570 separate instances on the darknet. Jörg Angerer, an attorney for the Regional Cybercrime Center, read the criminal complaint that accused the men of selling on the darknet between October 2015 and August 2016. According to the non-disclosed complaint, the father and son sold 5.3 kilograms of amphetamine; 550 grams of crystal meth; 1.8 kilograms hashish; and 1,100 ecstasy pills. The two moved all the drugs mentioned above in 570 orders and received $147,000 in Bitcoin as payment. (He made no distinction between gross and net income but said the $147,000 came from the father and son combined.) The duo, Jörg Angerer said, used the username “White Dragon” on darknet marketplaces.

Little information on the third defendant surfaced; this is attributable to the secretive nature of the case the role played by the man with respect to selling drugs on the darknet. The Bavarian man, a 25-year-old, once ordered 1.9 kilograms of amphetamine and 250 ecstasy pills—from the father and son business—to resell. Whether he sold the drugs or simply conspired to sell them fell into the “unknown” category, at least to the public. He intended to sell them, we know. But no information as to whether he wanted to sell them online or throughout Bavaria remains unknown.

Prosecutors made the choice to keep documents confidential which, according to the defense, interfered with the already-botched case. The “secret investigation methods” violated the scope of the warrant used by police to investigate the group. The judge that signed the order signed it blindly, the trio’s lawyers argued. The judges signed warrants for searches and interceptions that already took place as did the evidence procured during the illegal searches.

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