Chemical Revolution, the first sentences have been handed down.

An online store offered drugs of all kinds for purchase by mouse click – for their involvement in it, the Giessen Regional Court has now sentenced seven men to several years in prison. The judges on Friday found the defendants – including a man from the district of Munich, who is considered the initiator – guilty of having worked for the platform “Chemical Revolution”, which was operated on the Internet and anonymous Darknet.

When it was shut down in 2019, investigators had spoken of the nation’s largest online drug store, which is also said to have had features of a legal platform such as volume discounts and customer comments. The group, which had partly acted as a gang, had assumed that it would be able to earn millions with the business model, the presiding judge said in justifying the verdict. The Prosecutor General’s Office in Frankfurt also assumed in its extensive indictment that the defendants had taken in about one million euros in the form of Bitcoin with the store.

Kilos of drugs such as amphetamine, marijuana or cocaine and ecstasy had been brought from the Netherlands to Germany from the fall of 2017, the chairman said. The goods were transported to various locations nationwide, including Ortenberg in Hesse. It was then allegedly packaged and shipped to customers.

The trial, which began a year ago, covered only a small part of the prosecution’s allegations. It assumed a total of 320 acts between September 2017 and February 2019. In Giessen, it was about a total of nine accusations and the early days of the store. Some cases were discontinued. The chairman said the court was aware that the findings were the “lowest common denominator that unites the seven defendants.” According to the findings, the main defendant from Bavaria had the idea of setting up a mail-order drug shop. According to the court, he took care of ordering the narcotics, marketing and administration or customer service. The other men each had their own roles, were responsible for import or transport, were couriers or “errand boys.”

The men, aged between 29 and 46, had mostly admitted the charges. Four of them were convicted, among other things, of “gang-related illicit trafficking in narcotics in no small quantity.” The court did not consider the other men to be members of the gang; some of them were convicted as helpers or for importing the drugs.

The court imposed prison sentences ranging from two years and eight months to nine years and two months for the main defendant. He is also to be placed in a rehab center after a certain period in custody because of his cocaine addiction. The sentences, which are not yet final, were partly preceded by a plea bargain among the parties to the trial. The district court will continue to deal with the “Chemical Revolution” case, as there are a total of eleven defendants. However, because of the extensive proceedings and the coronavirus pandemic, the others will not be tried until later.