Inside An Illicit German Weapons Ring On The Internet

[Reports on the shooting Friday in Munich that left nine dead say that the gunman likely obtained his weapons online illegally via the “dark net.” The following Die Welt article earlier this month covers another German case, in the city of Stuttgart, and the issues around black market activity on encrypted websites.]

BERLIN — The three young men knew how to make lots of money. All they needed was a small workshop at grandma’s, access to the Internet and a few guns that fired blanks.

One of them was a toolmaker. He would be the one to turn the blank-firing guns into real weapons, mostly Walther PK380 semi-automatic pistols. The second had the funds to buy the material needed for the operation. The third would help assemble the weapons.

And then there’s Darknet, a kind of parallel Internet in which you can remain anonymous or use a fake identity. That would be the perfect place to sell their homemade weapons. Later, they thought, they might even graduate to big guns like the Zastava M70 or AK-47 assault rifle.

That’s the story the Stuttgart district attorney pieced together after months of investigation. The suspects are German nationals — one aged 24

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