A collaboration between Australian police and German authorities led to a three and a half year prison sentence for an 18-year-old from Hassfurt, Bavaria, Germany who had attempted to buy a MAC-11 on the darknet. After an August 2017 arrest, authorities searched the teenager’s house and found drugs, fake IDs, fake euro notes, and evidence that implicated the defendant in additional criminal activities.
In early 2018 at the Bamberg district court, juvenile justice Martin Waschner listened to the prosecutor explain the charges the teenager faced. The case against the young man began in June 2017 when an undercover police officer received an order on the darknet for a MAC-11. The police officer had posed as a weapons vendor. Even though the officer worked in Australia with Australian authorities, German authorities kept up with the undercover operation. The 18-year-old’s attempted possession of the MAC-11—a submachine gun capable of firing 1,200 rounds per minute—violated Germany’s laws concerning the importation and possession of so-called “weapons of war.”
The teenager and the undercover police officer agreed upon a price of $1,700 for the weapon. Australian authorities then alerted their German colleagues. The ‘vendor’ and teenager agreed to handle the exchange in person. They planned to meet at a parking lot in Hassfurt. Armed with this information, German authorities arrived at the meeting spot before the unsuspecting buyer and prepared a trap. When the buyer showed up to pick up his gun, police officers arrested him. He has been in police custody since the August 2017 arrest.
After the arrest, authorities secured a search warrant for the defendant’s home. Once inside, they found 771 ecstasy pills, small amounts of cocaine, and three sets of brass knuckles. Investigators discovered that the teenager had bought the pills on the darknet for 1,000 euros. He had planned to resell the pills. After conducting a test on the pills, investigators found they contained neither ecstasy nor any other active ingredient. But since the teenager thought he had purchased real pills, the fact that he had purchased counterfeits made no difference.
During the investigation, the authorities discovered that the 18-year-old and an accomplice conducted a phishing campaign and made a 50,000 euro profit. They sent fake support messages to customers of a cellular service provider. In some cases, they even called the customers and stole passwords and billing information by posing as tech support employees. One month before the arrest, the teenager used a stolen credit card to purchase a Pitbike for 2,700 euros.
If the sentence is finalized, the 18-year-old will spend three years and six months in prison. He will also be responsible for court fees.