Austrian news outlet Kronen Zeitung (Krone) spoke with a BKA official about darknet crime in Germany. The source, who did not reveal a name, said the BKA investigated nearly 600 darknet drug buyers and vendors since 2015.
The number of investigations was for vendors and buyers who resided in Germany; outside of Germany, many more had been investigated but they were not Germany’s responsibility to pursue. This increasing number, the source said, was why the BKA joined in the “EU-supported project” to fight darknet drug trafficking.
Weapon vendors, like the one who supplied the Munich gunman with a Glock 17, were the reason darknet investigations became a priority. The majority of the arrests, lately, have been related to the buying and selling of firearms online. However, the 2015-2016 number provided by the source was in reference to drug cases alone.
Cybercrime on the darknet became too much of an issue for a single country to handle, the source said. In 2015, the BKA joined forces with the EU to get support from Europol member states. Law enforcement in this “EU-supported project” shared data and resources for fighting cybercrime. However, the darknet kept thriving despite the increased law enforcement presence.
The BKA also found a growing presence of terrorists on the darknet. At a joint presentation with Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, BKA Chief Holger Münch said the following:
Terrorists must get no opportunity to pursue their dangerous ideology. We must take every opportunity to obtain evidence also of organized crime for the fight against terrorism. Criminals can gain access to sophisticated cyber tools without their own great technical knowledge. So new opportunities for crime are opened. It is therefore not surprising that the investigators found an increase in cybercrime in the area of organized crime.
The unique partnership between Germany and the other members of the “EU supported project” called for a new taskforce. A group of specialists who hunted the digital world for buyers and suppliers was then created. This taskforce, the source said, arrested 25 notable traffickers in Germany alone.
All 25 arrests yielded surprising quantities of substances, he said. Officials found 58 kilograms of amphetamine, 2.7 kilograms of marijuana, 1.1 kilograms of cocaine, and 30,335 ecstasy tablets. Additionally, police found 18 kilograms of various “poisons” along with weapons and counterfeit currency. “There are dealers who are greedy and sell everything one can buy,” said the investigator.
See also: Operation Hyperion