Swiss Police Officer Under Investigation for Trafficking Firearms on the Dark Web.
Switzerland’s office of the Attorney General is investigating the logistics chief of the cantonal police agency of Schwyz for misconduct and violation of the War Material Act, the Tages-Anzeiger reported on Thursday.
The Swiss police officer and a logistics manager came under scrutiny after he was linked to an ongoing investigation on dark web weapon trafficking, launched in 2013 in Southern Germany.
The National Federal Office of Police got a court search warrant for the alleged suspect’s apartment on February 22. During the search, law enforcement agents confiscated a weapons cache. The cache was so large that a backup truck had to be called in to help transport it all.
The suspect who is the head of logistics was remanded after his arrest but was released 15 days later. He denied the allegations of selling and trafficking firearms on the dark web as well as speaking on the case as the investigation was still underway.
It is not clear what to expect with the investigation, as the case has drawn a lot of attention, raised suspicions of favoritism, unfair management and deliberate breach of official privacy and secrecy.
“I have been seriously shocked by the charges against this suspect who was my former subordinate,” said Damian Meier, the head of Schwyz cantonal police. “He is suspended and it will remain that way, until we have the investigation concluded.”
According to the Tages-Anzeiger, a concluded internal investigation revealed that service ammunition worth over 15,000 francs could not be accounted for, and no service firearms were found.
Six years of investigation
A similar but earlier discovery had been noticed which lead to an investigation launched in south Germany in 2013. The investigating agents went undercover looking into firearms and other weapons on the dark web.
Hunters in Germany reportedly heard sounds of automatic gun fire in the forest. In the investigation, the undercover agents focused on a young firearm dealer who led them to an online arm dealer operating under the pseudonym Clultimate. The young fanatical buyer was arrested and jailed in 2014 after three cows were slaughtered in the field.
Further investigation during the dismantling of the dark web weapon network and firearm confiscation led to the arrest of the online seller in June 2017. The arrest is what revealed the links between the firearm dealer and the logistics manager at the Schwyz cantonal police.
According to the German police, buyers reportedly procured weapons on the dark web but later met Clutimate near the Einsiedeln convent in a car park where they tested the weapons in a nearby forest.
Germany investigating police concluded that Clultimate was actually two people; the Schwyz supplier and the retailer on the dark web. In August 2017, the Schwyzs public prosecutor was alerted on the matter but no action was taken.
Two months later, the German investigators took a visit to Schwyz with a request for mutual assistance in launching of massive and collaborative judicial machine. The Swiss agencies are now conducting a parallel investigation to reveal where and how the suspect got firearms and how many were successfully sold.