Former Alphabay User Sentenced to Probation

During a trial at the district court in Böblingen, a 27-year-old faced harsh penalties for ordering a significant amount of drugs from the now-defunct Alphabay darknet market. The prosecution accused the Herrenberg man of drug trafficking. He had purchased at least 100 grams of cocaine and 575 grams of marijuana. The defendant readily admitted that he had ordered both marijuana and cocaine on the darknet, but denied distributing any drugs.

Judge Werner Kömpf, during the trial, examined the files about Alphabay prepared by investigators after the July 2017 Alphabay takedown. The judge commented on the “insane amounts of drugs” and that “[Alphabay] was like an Amazon store.” The judge and defendant almost joked about how much money the defendant would have if he had not spent it on drugs; the judge referenced the fact that records revealed the defendant bought 400 euros worth of bitcoin in July 2017. The value of Bitcoin dramatically shifted in the months that followed the Alphabay seizure (for almost entirely unrelated reasons).

Throughout the case, the 27-year-old maintained the same story. He said that during the first few months of 2017, his stress had risen to unbearable levels. The cause of his stress was not revealed to the public and likely played no role in the outcome of the trial. But during his stress-filled months, the defendant explained that he had turned to marijuana in an effort to sleep and gain an appetite. He said the lack of an appetite led to the loss of 25 kilograms of body weight.

He says that he had never used cocaine. Instead, he said, his roommate had learned about the darknet and had asked for 100 grams of cocaine. The defendant said that his roommate was a “technological idiot.” This transaction between the defendant and his former roommate qualified as drug trafficking—at least in the eyes of the prosecution. That package of cocaine led to the defendant’s arrest.

Authorities in Dortmund had intercepted a package addressed to the defendant’s house in Herrenberg. The connection between the order, the defendant, and Alphabay seemingly came from files seized on the Alphabay servers and from the defendant’s computer. The prosecution had evidence indicating that the authorities had known the vendor behind the cocaine deal. They said that other customers had called the cocaine a “good deal for the price.”

Because the defendant had stopped treating his stress with marijuana, the judge acknowledged that the “episode had ended.” Judge Kömpf sentenced the defendant to one year and nine months, suspended upon completion of probation and a 2,000 euro fine.