10.12.17 Dark Web and Cybercrime Roundup
Chemical Love Conspirator Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
Chemical Love: Nicholas Kelsch ran Chemical Love, a massive darknet drug shop/online drug trafficking organization. German authorities rounded up Nicholas aka z100 and four co-conspirators in 2016. As of late December 2017, four of the five Chemical Love drug traffickers received sentences. A German court finally managed to sentence the fourth co-conspirator, former VfB Stuttgart professional football player Walter Kelsch. He received three years in prison for his role in the drug trafficking organization.
Walter Kelsch is also the father of the Chemical Love leader, Nicholas. German authorities charged the senior Kelsch for aiding Nicholas traffic drugs out of the Netherlands on less than five occasions. Prosecutors alleged that Kelsch helped his son traffic amphetamines from the Netherlands between 2014 and 2015. Chemical Love sold massive quantities of almost every mainstream drug, but amphetamine may have been the hottest selling product. When authorities raided their headquarters, Chemical Love had a stash of 45 kilograms of the drug. Stuttgarter Zeitung, DeepDotWeb
Dream Vendor Mrdrogenkommandant Busted in Germany
The Federal Criminal Police Office announced the arrest of a vendor they referred to as a “top vendor” on both Dream market and Hansa market. Investigators discovered that the vendor, a 29-year-old German who lived in the Netherlands, made daily trips into Germany to drop packages off at postal stations. On the darknet, the man went by “mrdrogenkommandant” and “drogenfahndung.” The investigation into mrdrogenkommandant stated in August 2017 and only ran through mid November. The BKA waited another 16 days before announcing the bust.
Mrdrogenkommandant had several associates that German authorities wanted to catch before they disappeared. Taking down the drug trafficking organization, according to the BKA, could put a dent in illegal drug trafficking in Germany. Working with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Coburg and the Central Office for the Suppression of Cybercrime (ZIT), the BKA learned mrdrogenkommandant’s routine and waited for him in North Rhine-Westphalia. They caught him with 34 packages. German law enforcement also coordinated the operation with law enforcement in other countries; as soon as the BKA had caught the vendor, Netherlands authorities raided the houses associated with his operation.
During the house searches, the Netherlands police seized 75 kilograms of drugs, including amphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin. They also found €400,000 cash. German authorities have identified dozens of buyers. They have arrested several in connection with the bust. In a statement on Facebook, the BKA said that they would be pursuing a list of mrdrogenkommandant’s suspected customers. DeepDotWeb
Grams Admin Announces Shutdown of All Grams Services
In a post on /u/darknetmarkets, the owner and creator of “the Google of the darknet” announced that he would shut grams down on 16-12-2017. “I write to you all today with heavy heart. I have decided to take down Grams and all its’ services one week from now,” he wrote. He added that Helix Light users will have one week to withdraw their funds. Any BTC still sitting in Helix wallets will be donated to worthy sites.
Grams played an integral role in the workflow of many darknet users. The Grams admin created a Grams api that markets could implement if they wanted Grams to scrape vendor information, ratings, listings, etc. Grams Infodesk allows reverse PGP key searches to find vendors with the same PGP key using different usernames on numerous markets. Without the search, simple things like spotting the Dream vendor accounts that the Dutch National Police had compromised could possibly have gone unnoticed. /r/darknetmarkets
Napoli Group Counterfeit Vendor Sentenced to House Arrest
In 2016, Europol helped coordinate an international investigation into a counterfeiting ring called the “Napoli Group.” The Napoli Group sold very high quality counterfeit Euros for years in Spain and Italy. They sold counterfeit notes on and off the darknet. One of the men accused of being a leader of a Napoli Group operation in Italy, Carmine Guerriero, also operated the Napoli Group vendor accounts on some of the mainstream darknet markets. Many of Guerriero’s family members went down for their involvement in the organization too. They have all been sentenced and many have completed their sentences. Guerriero just received his: five years under house arrest—away from his family home.
The separation from his residence in Castellammare may be connected to the role his mother, sister, and cousin played in the counterfeit trafficking ring. Prosecutors accused Guerriero of running the ring out of the home and involving his family. Guerriero managed the darknet vendor profiles and computer work. His family ran errands and shipped packages. Despite the separation, Guerriero managed to get the sentence encouraged by his lawyers. The prosecution wanted five years in prison. Guerriero wanted five years house arrest. DeepDotWeb
Six Fraudsters Arrested in Darknet Carding Scheme
In July, Tübingen police opened an investigation into a so-called “gang of fraudsters.” The police had spotted a pattern in the Germans who reported that they had been the victim of some form of fraud. This ring of fraudsters allegedly worked in unison to steal the identities of German citizens through malware of some sort. They also paid for stolen identity information on darknet markets. With the stolen identities, the group used stolen bank accounts and credit cards to purchase various pieces of “expensive electronics.”
They then resold the stolen merchandise on the internet. German authorities said very about the investigation, even after they had arrested the six suspects. Per usual, the ongoing investigation is likely to blame for the lack of public information. During one of the raids at the house of a suspect, the police found hundreds of grams of marijuana and amphetamine packaged for shipment. The house owner also had “drug trafficking equipment” and likely sold drugs on the internet. The BKA are now investigating the possibility of the entire ring being involved in both drug trafficking and fraud. DeepDotWeb