A German man was charged for attempting to purchase a firearm on the dark web. According to authorities, the defendant had purchased a pistol and ammunition from an undercover law enforcement officer on an undisclosed darkweb marketplace.
According to prosecutors, Australian law enforcement contacted German authorities in July 2019 with information about the defendant. Australian law enforcement agencies had officers posing as firearm vendors on darkweb markets when they first encountered the defendant. The defendant, a 26-year-old from Berlin, had unknowingly contacted one of the undercover law enforcement officers when searching the darkweb for a pistol vendor.
Australian law enforcement agreed to sell the defendant a semi-automatic handgun and ammunition for 3,000 euros. The defendant paid the first 1,500 euros in Bitcoin in July. He agreed to pay the second 1,500 installment in cash after seeing the gun. After receiving the first payment from the defendant, Australian authorities set a time, date, and location for the final exchange. They sent this information to law enforcement in Germany.
In August 2019, the defendant met with undercover police officers at a parking lot in Berlin to pay the remaining 1,500 euros and to pick up the pistol and ammunition. The police arrested the defendant after receiving the final payment. After arresting the 23-year-old, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home where they found counterfeit euros and a “quantity of drugs.”
In his testimony, the defendant claimed he had been using the darkweb in his free time. He admitted everything, including purchasing the pistol, drugs, and counterfeit euro notes on the darkweb. “I thought the idea of owning [a pistol] was cool,” he said during the hearing.
He will return to court on January 29.