The arrest of a Heidelberg darknet weapons vendor in 2016 helped customs investigators from the Nuremberg Customs Department catch a 26-year-old gun buyer. A press release from the Customs Investigation Office in Munich revealed that the 26-year-old had purchased a gun from the vendor in 2014. During a search of the man’s home, authorities found a matching Glock pistol and various illegal weapons. A darknet market transaction that occurred almost four years ago led to the man’s demise.
Although the arrest and search took place in early November, the Customs Investigation Office in Munich announced the arrest on December 7. The investigation is ongoing, as is the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) investigation into 80 or more suspected buyers of illegal guns from darknet markets. After the arrest of the vendor in Heidelberg, the BKA announced they had compiled a list of between 80 and 85 suspected buyers. Many came from the vendor’s records. Although investigators could only confirm that the vendor had sold guns to 12 buyers, they strongly suspected that he had sold closer to 70 guns in total.
The list of known buyers included someone the court called a “radical Islamist” living in Austria who had purchased an assault rifle; a “21-year-old drug user” in England responsible for the purchase of an AK-47 and a submachine gun; the Austrian “radical Islamist” again after he left prison; an 18-year-old shotgun buyer in Tuttlingen; and, now, a 26-year-old from Bad Kissingen. Investigators linked at least one homicide to the guns sold by the vendor.
Investigators had initially suspected the 26-year-old had purchased a Glock 19 Gen 4 from the darknet vendor in 2014. They still suspect that. However, after raiding the suspect’s house in Bad Kissingen, authorities added a significant number of charges. And of the charges are various weapons act violations.
German authorities, during the execution of a search warrant at the suspect’s house, found the Glock in question; two rifles; ammunition for all three firearms; accessories for all three firearms; throwing stars; two sets of brass knuckles; two butterfly knives; two tasers (stun guns); two nunchucks; and one switchblade knife. They also found two weapons that the suspect had been legally purchased. Officers pulled one rifle out from underneath a couch; one rifle from behind a sideboard; and the pistol in a desk drawer.
The Customs Investigation Office in Munich found that each significant piece of the Glock 19 bore different “weapon numbers.” (They did not clarify if the mismatched numbers were part numbers or full serial numbers.) The Munich Office also announced they had started a forensic examination of various electronic devices seized at the suspect’s house.
For the various weapons act violations, the 26-year-old could face up to five years in prison, a Customs spokesperson said. The investigation is ongoing.