German law enforcement identified and arrested three persons who allegedly sold narcotics on the dark web. According to the investigators, one of them acted with biological weapons and chemical substances.

Recently, after a thorough and complex investigation, Cologne authorities identified and arrested three individuals who were suspected of selling drugs on the dark web. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) discovered a dark web group of criminals dealing with narcotics, chemicals and even biological agents.

In the middle of the year, the investigators asked the employees of the special unit of the Cologne public prosecutor’s office – the “ZAC NRW” for help. The special operations unit managed to identify three suspects in the case. The identified persons included two brothers, 33, 44, of Hamm, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany and a man, 26, of Mölln, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

On the morning of August 29, the investigators had collected enough evidence to request a search warrant in the case. Law enforcement authorities stormed the apartments of the three suspects in Hamm and Mölln. During the raid, investigators searched the apartments and arrested the alleged criminals. In the homes of the suspects, law enforcement authorities discovered chemicals and collected further evidence against the defendants.

All of the suspects are accused of selling narcotics, including carfentanil hydrochloride and fentanyl hydrochloride, in large quantities and in a variety of cases to dark web users via “multiple underground economy platforms.” One of the defendants is also suspected of acting with biological weapons (botulinum toxin) and with toxic chemical substances (potassium cyanide).

In the apartments of the two brothers in Hamm, investigators discovered several liters of unknown liquids and more than one kilogram of powdered substance, stored in a wide range of containers. Furthermore, law enforcement authorities seized precision scales, foil welding equipment, various shipping containers and packaging material in large quantities.

Carfentanil is the analog of the synthetic opioid fentanyl which is the drug that has caused drug epidemics in the United States and Canada. Typically it is used to tranquilize large animals, such as elephants. Furthermore, the drug is really dangerous: it was reported that carfentanil is about 10,000 times more potent than morphine. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), carfentanil is about 50 times deadlier than fentanyl, and about 3,000 to 5,000 times more fatal than heroin. Some reports stated that two milligrams could be enough for a person to overdose on the drug. Since the substance can be absorbed by breathing or the skin, law enforcement authorities had to take certain security measures when they secured the narcotics.

In addition to the forces of the customs offices of Essen and Hamburg, the main customs offices, special forces from the federal police and the state police, local fire brigades were also involved, since law enforcement authorities needed their help to secure the toxic substances.

Since the Essen customs and the ZAC NRW are still investigating the case, law enforcement authorities did not release more information on the suspects.

Botulinum toxin (BTX) is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and its related species. This substance can be used for the production of nerve pains. It inhibits the excitation transmission of the nerve cells and affects the vegetative nervous system. This can lead to muscle weakness, to the standstill of cardiac-pulmonary function and death. Import and trade are subject to special provisions in many countries including Germany.

Potassium cyanide is mostly used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating. It is a highly toxic substance, as the lethal dose is between 200 and 300 milligrams. Potassium cyanide was responsible for deaths and suicides of numerous persons, especially in the World War II era. The vendors selling potassium cyanide have a number of specific obligations under the Chemicals Prohibition Order (Chem-VerbotsV). The sale of the substance requires a trade license from the German authorities.

If the suspects are found guilty, they could face serious time in prison. Furthermore, since one of them dealt with highly dangerous chemical substances, he could be imprisoned for a very long time.

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