Student Arrested in Germany For Running Largest Darknet Market

In Bavaria, a 22-year-old German student has been arrested recently by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) of Germany for allegedly operating one of the most extensive darknet marketplaces, ‘Deutschland im Deep Web‘ (DiDW).

In March 2022, the platform had already been shut down and by that time the portal was found to have the following key statistics:-

  • 16,000 registered users
  • 28,000 posts
  • 72 high-volume sellers

In addition to being charged with running an illicit darknet marketplace, the suspect now faces a criminal charge, which could result in him being imprisoned for up to ten years.

For many years, the darknet marketplace has been a critical part of the cybercrime underground drug trade due to its use as a place to buy and sell drugs.

Anonymization and IT security have been core subjects of DiDW since it was launched in 2013 when it started as a forum. The number of registered users reached 23,000 in 2017 and the number of monthly visitors reached up to 6 million when the platform was at its top edge.

A murder weapon and ammunition were claimed to have been purchased on the platform by the perpetrator of the shooting spree in Munich in the year 2016. In essence, this turned DiDW into a darknet market that was cloaked in a forum appearance.

Following this incident, law enforcement quickly took down the website and the operator was sentenced to seven years in prison after being arrested. Apart from this, two new versions of the platform were released in 2018 under the following name:-

Deutschland im Deep Web

Under the self-imposed motto of “No control, everything allowed” a variety of illicit weapons and specifically drugs were traded.

There was no explanation for the shutdown of the second version of DiDW in 2019. But what is surprising is the arrival of a third version that claims to be the heir to the official portal.

However, on October 25, 2022 the federal police managed to track down and arrest the primary operator of the third version. 

In accordance with Section 127 of the Criminal Code, it is suspected that on the internet the indicted was charged for operating a criminal trading platform which makes the suspect guilty.

There hasn’t been any access to the platform since March 2022, and users haven’t been able to access it.

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.