In late 2016, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office of Frankfurt charged a darknet weapons vendor with negligent homicide and negligent bodily harm. The vendor—known as Philipp K., a 32-year-old from Marburg—admitted providing Ali David Sonboly, the Munich gunman, with a Glock 17. The Prosecutor’s Office had, at the time, charged the vendor with only weapon crimes. Roughly one year after the shooting, officials announced that K. will face the new charges in August 2017.
The Federal Criminal Police Office arrested the vendor shortly after the Munich shooting occurred. He confessed, helped police catch other vendors, and revealed a hidden weapon cache. In helping investigators, K. incriminated himself to an even greater degree. Authorities found encrypted messages between K. and Sonboly where K. “could have known [Sonboly] was planning to kill people with the gun.”
According to Georg Ungefuk, from the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office of Frankfurt:
“The arrest warrant was initially issued only because of the violation of the arms laws. The further investigation of the secured communication from the supposed arms dealer on the Darknet – the secret area of the Internet – however, showed indications of negligence. There was [initially] no evidence that the 31-year-old Marburger knew what the amok gunman had in mind.”
Police recently seized “Deutschland im DeepWeb,” the forum where Sonboly found K. Conversations between K and Sonboly, before switching to private communications, were publicly visible. Sonboly requested a firearm seller who could get ammunition and a Glock 17. “Hi, I’m looking for a Glock 17 with a total of 250 rounds of ammunition,” he wrote in one post. Later on, the same user wrote that he did not want to wait a year to buy a Glock as one forum veteran suggested could happen.
“From May to December, there were a total of four arms traders who were able to ‘sell’ Glocks to Glocks, but it turned out that this was all a scam – I really do not want to wait for years to find a ‘true’ weapon merchant who will offer a good Glock 17,” he wrote. Forum members previously disputed whether or not the user who had posted the above messages was Ali David Sonboly. Others, though, believed that the user had been Sonboly and knew the seller was K.
Philipp K. used several usernames for his online firearm sales. He needed many as he started the trade in 2014, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. Some evidence indicates that he vended on former darknet marketplaces that permitted weapon sales. Police also busted the DiDW forum owner for facilitating the trade of firearms and other illegal items. He is currently at the Detention Center at the District Court of Karlsruhe and remains under investigation.
K. faces nine counts of negligent homicide and five counts of causing negligent bodily harm, alongside the weapons charges.