Two German Dealers Charged for Fentanyl Distribution
In the summer of 2017, a German law enforcement operation took media outlets by surprise. The operation, conducted by German special forces, also surprised two suspected darknet fentanyl and carfentanil vendors. Neither expected the forceful removal of their doors on the morning of an otherwise normal day. The German Federal Police unit for Combating Serious Organized Crime and Terrorism, the GSG 9, rarely makes house calls for something as simple as a darknet vendor.
German authorities received a tip about two darknet vendors in early 2017. Two brothers living in a residential area in Werries. The neighborhood, according to local news reports of the event, was frightened; authorities revealed that the duo had been producing and selling âhighly toxic and highly dangerous substancesâ from inside their apartments. The public quickly learned that the men sold the potent opioids on the darknet.
Customs investigators joined the raid and assisted GSG 9 in removing kilograms of an unidentified powder, liters of an unidentified liquid, dozens of containers of chemicals, glassware, scales, shipping material, and other assorted equipment from the apartments. Although carfentanil matches the potency of some chemical weapons, German authorities have handled the substance in the past without needing the special forces.
Later, after German officials revealed the drugs seized during the raid, we learned why the GSG 9 handled the raid. In addition to fentanyl and carfentanil, the authorities discovered botulinum toxin (Botox) and potassium cyanide. Chemical weapons laws prevent anyone without specific authorization to import or export botulinum toxin; chemists, since the second World War have created biological weapons with Botox. It lacks the threat of traditional nerve agents, but can theoretically cause death if dispersed in high enough doses (only one recorded attack with botox exists and there were no casualties). Botox is much more frequently used in the plastic surgery and medical fields.
Potassium cyanide has a body count and reputation as a weapon. However, the majority of deaths by potassium cyanide were suicides. And the chemical was used for suicide most frequently during World War II. While incredibly toxic, potassium cyanide can be used in the production of fentanyl analogues (and other drugs). Authorities concluded, after nearly one year of investigation, that the duo had not been selling chemical weapons. The suspected dealers stayed in jailâwithout being chargedâfor more than six months.
The Cologne Prosecutor has now charged both men, along with a younger accomplice, for producing and distributing controlled substances. Investigators had initially connected fentanyl sold by the duo to the death of a teenager in Norway, but the prosecutor has dropped the charge. Investigators are still examining the dealersâ list of 784 customers. The list, when printed out, filled more than 100 pages of paper.
Officials have not yet set a trial date.