In December 2016, law enforcement from Dilsen-Stokkem became aware of an 18-year-old darknet marketplace vendor, but not just any teenage vendor—the officers discovered that the young man sought to start a small weapons business. And small only refers to the fact that it was little more than a family owned business.
The 18-year-old bought and sold Glock firearms exclusively or almost exclusively, according to the prosecuting attorney. However, he showed a growing interest in Kalashnikovs. Undercover officers met with the young man, or his business associates depending on the circumstance, for several weeks before making an arrest.
The group, or rather the 18-year-old who operated the vending account, started interacting with undercover officers through the darknet. He told the undercover officers that “money was the goal” when he interacted with them. Since the age of 16, the defendant found his way into the darknet where he started to grow accustomed to the prevalent illegal trades. From there, he and several co-defendants started the so-called “business.”
“It’s a booming business. Especially after the attacks, arms trade requires attention,” the prosecutor said. Police investigated the weapons trade online where they posed as suppliers for the 18-year-old. On December 21, authorities made the arrests. They prepared a setup wherein the two parties would meet and exchange money for a significant number of Glocks.
Some of the recent terror attacks are believed, by some government agencies, to have benefited from the darknet. Likely Bitcoin money laundering and weapons purchases. And the case of the Munich gunman set the darknet chain of events off, with regard to weapons at least.
They met in a McDonald’s in Bilzen where police quickly apprehended the defendants.
For the 18-year-old, the prosecutor pushed for a sentence of four years with deferral of one year. The prosecutor recommended that the father serve five years without a postponement. Sentencing will begin on June 19. In recent case, similar to this one, the defendants purchased deactivated weapons off the darknet. They each received five years in prison, despite significant differences the crimes.
“According to his lawyer, the teenager is a smart kid and a scout at that. But that is not the case,” prosecutor said. The defendant was not as naive and unknowing as his attorney made him out to be. Evidence from his computer revealed that, from an early age, he knew what he exactly what the darknet contained and that the darknet became an obsession of his.