Darknet Weapon Vendor Who Sold Weapons to the Munich Gunman is Working with Police
The darknet arms dealer who sold firearms to the Munich shooter has given a full confession to federal prosecutors. He testified against himself and is in full cooperation with the Frankfurt Prosecutors Office.
In August, the 31-year-old vendor was arrested. The investigation into where David Ali Sonboly purchased his weapon was carried out by 65-person taskforce. 31,000 tips and pieces of evidence had to be reviewed. The taskforce additionally interviewed 250 witnesses. Witness statements enabled the investigators to build a map of Sonboly’s travels and activity. Evidence from social media and items retrieved from Sonboly’s home allowed specific dates and locations to be pinpointed.
The 18-year-old gunman made bus trips to Marburg on dates that later proved to be relevant.
German police cracked down on deepweb activity. At the time, they specifically focused on darknet marketplace transactions involving weapons. Vendors were the first to be investigated. Holger Muench, head of Germany’s Federal Police, told the media that “We [the BKA] see that the darknet is a growing trading place, and therefore we need to prioritize our investigations here.” Muench’s statement has been repeated numerous times over the last few months; German police forces have arrested vendors and customers at an accelerated rate.
The Chemical Love bust proved to be an excellent example of the newfound focus. Initially, the group of vendors were busted in what was nearly a single swoop. As if the destruction of one of the largest drug operations in the country wasn’t enough, the BKA started busting customers. An early morning raid led to the capture of 63 customers. Homes across the entire region were searched. The operation took place in 11 states: Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein.
Law enforcement discovered a weapons vendor who fit the profile of Sonboly’s vendor. Police officers contacted the vendor and posed as potential buyers. Interaction with the vendor provided the police with enough evidence to move forward. In encrypted communications, the vendor bragged about his illegal activities. His claim to fame was that he sold Sonboly the Glock 17 and 250 rounds of ammunition.
The suspect further claimed to have met Sonboly in person, in Marburg, on two specific dates. Both meetings happened on the same day that Sonboly took bus trips to Marburg.
A sting operation was set up. Still under the guise of being civilians, police came to a deal with the vendor. They decided to buy an unknown automatic weapon and a Glock 17 for $9,021. The meeting was planned.
The vendor was arrested at the meeting in Marburg, Germany.
Statements were released by the Frankfurt State Prosecutor’s Office following the arrest. However, no details were released afterwards. Chatter had silenced.
Then on October 17, two months after the arrest took place, an announcement was made. “He has confessed and cooperated with the investigating authorities,” said a spokesman for the Frankfurt Prosecutor’s Office. His cooperation, the spokesperson claimed, is being used to further investigations into other vendors and buyers. Before the vendor was arrested, he claimed to have sold similar weapons to a 62-year-old accountant and a 17-year-old student.
Law enforcement has opened an investigation into the vendor’s business partners. The General Prosecutor claimed that the vendor may not have been working alone. No further details on ongoing investigations were announced for “tactical reasons.”
Officials did, however, announce that the 31-year-old vendor led investigators to a weapons cache in the woods. Buried underground, police found a submachine gun, four semi-automatic pistols, and unquantified ammunition.