For years, the darknet portal Wallstreet Market was used to sell all kinds of goods, especially illegal ones. Now the verdicts against the operators have been pronounced in Frankfurt. In court, the three men were cooperative – and even revealed their money stashes.
The Frankfurt Regional Court has sentenced those responsible for what was once the world’s second largest online marketplace on the darknet, Wallstreet Market. The court on Friday imposed prison sentences of between five years and three months and seven years and nine months on three men for gang-related narcotics trafficking. With the sentence, the court followed the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
On the Wallstreet Market platform, mainly drugs had been traded, but also spied data, forged documents and malware. In 2019, the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime at the Office of the Attorney General in Frankfurt had shut down the illegal marketplace in an international action.
Defendants driven by curiosity, according to their own testimony
The defendants had admitted the accusations early on in the trial. In addition, they helped in the investigation and disclosed their money hiding places. They also showed remorse during the trial. This shortened the trial considerably. Drug money and commissions in the tens of millions were confiscated.
One of the defendants described right at the beginning that it was technical curiosity that had initially driven the trio. Because the trade was virtual, there was no awareness that they were acting as drug dealers.
Just how complicated the matter is is shown by the fact that the arraignment in the Frankfurt Regional Court lasted three and a half hours. In the remand order, the Attorney General’s Office still assumes a particularly serious case of Section 29 of the Narcotics Act (BtMG). Here, offenders are punished who commercially create or grant another an opportunity for the unauthorized acquisition or unauthorized delivery of BTM. The range of punishment is between one and ten years. At the end of the investigation and with the indictment, however, the Prosecutor General’s Office assessed the facts as gang trafficking in not small quantities under Section 30 BtMG, which carries a sentence of five to 15 years in prison. “So a significant difference,” Hauer emphasizes. With this law, the legislator has primarily had organized crime gangs in mind. And the lawyer does not see that in the case of the three defendants in Frankfurt. They had met in person for the first time in the courtroom.
The defendants were lucky, because if the draft law on § 127 had not recently failed, the penalties could have been even higher.
For the defendants, with good behavior, there is a chance of early release from prison/open execution or earlier release. But this is only because they have neither a criminal record nor other conspicuous.
It is currently not known whether the verdict is already final or whether the defendants will appeal.