Earlier this week, a 49-year old Namibian man was arrested in Windhoek for selling and producing child pornography. He was in Namibian Police custody, and his first tribunal appearance was on Tuesday, 5th of April 2020, in the magistrate’s court.
The suspect is Johann Wickus Maree, a 49-year old Namibian resident, an alleged private investigator, and a “sports photographer.” The suspect owned a dark web site named “Boy Idols,” from which he would sell photos of young male models in swimwear and clothing. He would also post videos of minor boys on a dark web forum.
He was investigated since 2019, and the evidence was discovered by the Namibian Police in collaboration with the Netherlands police, the South African police, and Interpol.
The Nampol raided his house on Thursday, the 30th of April. They found evidence such as hardware, computers, and other objects that link him to the crimes.
As reported by the chief spokesperson of the Namibian Police, deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, the videos contained several minors performing sexual acts in bathrooms where video cameras were planted. Some videos, also obtained from covert cameras, were recordings of minors boys visiting the restroom at a public swimming pool. He also filmed himself engaging in sexual acts with his victims.
Charges after the preliminary trial
He was accused of forty charges, which involved up to thirty-four children as young as 9 years old. Eight under-aged boys were sexually abused and raped between 2016 and 2020, and an additional fourteen victims have been identified. Police are reaching for witnesses’ statements. The other twelve victims have yet to be traced.
Johann Wickus Maree was charged with rape, immoral acts with minors under the age of sixteen, indecent assault, charges of using children to create child pornography, trafficking by recruiting under-age boys for sexual exploitation.
After being informed of the serious charges, he stated that he’d be applying for a public defender. The suspect also said that he didn’t want to apply for bail at this stage.
Investigation continues while the suspect is in custody, and the case was postponed until the 28th of August.
The Namibian Police encourages citizens and parents to contact the national head of the Criminal Investigation Directorate, commissioner Nelius Becker, at (061) 209 3252 or 081 129 9215. Alternatively, detective chief inspector Pennies Olivier at 081 421 0903 if their children have been in contact with the suspect.
Salvatore Cipolletti was a 24-year-old Italian university student who died in Poland just after midnight on March the 9th of 2019 after falling from the seventh floor of a rented apartment in Warsaw. It was first thought they’re traveling for a Call of Duty meet-up, but the gang of friends wanted to party instead, as reported by QuiNewsValdera.
Salvatore Cipolletti, Jakub Rębisz, and Iacopo Michelotti
The group of three people Salvatore was with, Polish Jakub Rębisz, Italian Iacopo Michelotti, and another Croatian man, Adam, were on vacation in Warsaw, Poland.
They were allegedly consuming LSD bought from darknet platforms and hard liquor. A preliminary investigation revealed that Salvatore jumped voluntarily from the balcony, but his parents want a full inquiry on the circumstances. More so, the main reason would be a girl back in Italy of unrequited love.
Polish police were the only investigators on-site and classified the twenty-meter fall as a suicide. However, the family decided to file an “esposto querela contro ignoti” at the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Pisa. Meaning that the family asks for an investigation against unknown parties by Italian prosecutors. Such a legal endeavor should prompt an in-depth inquiry by Italian criminologists. The family has been vehement about the fact that their son wasn’t a drug user and neither depressed.
Lawyer Ivo Gronchi represents the mourning family of the Italian commune of Ponsacco. He addressed the tragedy after almost two weeks after the fact. The young man was first spotted lifeless by two tourists walking down the boulevard within a foot of the building itself.
He had precipitated from a seventh-floor balcony of a shared apartment where he and his friends were drinking and using what seems to be darkweb-ordered LSD
The apartment room of the seven-floor block in Warsaw
Salvatore having fun in Poland in the company of friends and girls
More from Lawyer Ivo Gronchi:
“Surely the contact between Salvatore, the Italian friend from Lucca, named Iacopo, and the other Polish friend happened through online games.”
“For the boy, it was the fourth trip to Poland, and the second time he was in that apartment on the seventh floor with the two friends. Unlike his Croatian friend (with which Cipolletti had found himself to take the plane from Venice) we do not know if he knew him in person, before this trip.”
“Extensive evidence of these trips can also be found on the boy’s social media profile, several times in the company of his friend from the Italian city of Lucca and Poland.”
“In a previous trip, in August, the three boys had been to Poland to play video games. Compared to this last trip the parents didn’t know if their son had gone to Warsaw to play video games,” Gronchi said.
“From what we have heard, from a translator from the Italian embassy, the Polish police have cataloged the death of Salvatore as a suicide. However, Salvatore’s body had to be returned to us today, but the delivery has been later moved to Monday or Tuesday. We don’t know if a supplementary investigation is planned. We are evaluating with the family the possibility of hiring a Polish lawyer who takes care of our interests on the spot and puts more pressure on the judicial authority of Warsaw to reveal what happened.”
Regarding Salvatore’s death, lawyer Gronchi reiterated what was communicated by the embassy:
“They let us know that the versions of the three witness boys (the friend from Lucca, the Polish, and the Croatian) are very similar. The trio stated that a few minutes after midnight Salvatore would have dropped the phone and would have gotten up to jump down from the window.”
“Salvatore’s body was found on the ground at midnight hours 00:20 (12:20 AM), lawyer Gronchi continued, we know that from 11:58 to 00:17, via Whatsapp, he sent phrases and audio recordings to a girl he was seeing in Italy. In these messages, there was the name of a fifth person who wasn’t with Salvatore or his friends.”
As for the other possible lead ways in this story, namely, the traces of LSD found by the first Polish investigators, lawyer Gronchi added:
“We were also told by the embassy that in the apartment the police found traces of LSD, in addition to a virtually intact bottle of rum. Looking in Salvatore’s belongings, we found PCs and passwords that would seem to indicate the young man has accessed to the deep web.”
The dark web is the non-indexed part of the internet where the implicated would have possibly ordered the darknet LSD. Various onion links and darknet markets were found to have been accessed by Salvatore:
“Salvatore had access to the deep web, and it is assumed that he also had a Bitcoin portfolio,” Layer Gronchi declared.
Salvatore’s family, the mother of Thai origins and his Italian father, are denying the boy was using drugs. Her only son, the mother declared that Salvatore didn’t even smoke. The young man had even asked his father to smoke outside.
A few days before leaving, he went to his trusted hairdresser and enthusiastically talked to him about the planned trip. Even a day before the unfortunate incident, on Mother’s day of 8th of March 2019, he surprised his mother at work with a mimosa bouquet. They were working in the same mechanical assemblies company. Also, the boy was enrolled at a mechanical engineering university in Rome. He followed the courses from home. He would soon have had his first exam.
His casket is set to be repatriated after a slight delay, lawyer Ivo Gronchi:
“The coffin should depart on Monday and arrive in Ponsacco on Tuesday. This is what the Italian embassy told us. Funerals are scheduled on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, let us say that we will present this statement so that further inquiries are made. But not Monday, we must talk to other people and to clarify other aspects of this story, before going to the Public Prosecutor”.
As for the WhatsApp audios he sent around midnight, the lawyer continued:
“I heard the audios, one of 7 seconds and the other of 55 seconds, people under the influence talking and laughing in the background while Salvatore wasn’t.
Those messages were sent by the young man a few minutes before his death to a co-worker girl named Valeria. The messages, sent just a few minutes before the fatal act, were addressed to the girl. Most intriguing is the fact that Salvatore kept obsessively repeating the name of another Polish man who was not with them in the apartment.
Salvatore was talking about suicide with the girl, openly:
We’ll leave our mark, it will be our suicide… I left a mark, so I fucking won.”
What’s more noteworthy is the fact that in the audible background — according to Gronchi — the two other friends seem to discourage him by saying:
“No, not this type of a mark.”
Salvatore’s family was visited by some friends and ex-colleagues of Salvatore. Among the visitors, on Fathers Day, Valeria passed by the house and left a letter and a box of chocolates:
“Salvatore would have given them to you — the woman wrote to Salvatore’s father — to celebrate with you.”
Valeria evidently did not dare to knock on the door, fearing of disturbing the family in such a terrible time. She left a piece of paper with a few lines, to reiterate to Carmine and Mary that Salvatore was a good man, heartfelt, and above all, madly in love with his family.
Carmine Cipolletti replied in a short interview:
“I held the note in my hands, I was moved — says Carmine Cipolletti — those words melted my heart, because there is a description of what my son was. An exceptional boy, who loved sports, studying, and life. So much so that he would never have committed suicide. I’m sure he didn’t consciously fly down from the seventh floor. Some of the guys in the apartment that night know something they haven’t said yet. They know the truth.”
Jakub, one of Salvatore Cipolletti’s friends of Polish origin gives an interview to the LaNazione on the unfortunate event.
He was there, along with the Croatian man and Iacopo, the Italian friend from the city of Lucca. All fans of online games. “But the game has nothing to do with this,” says Jakub, who gives an interview hoping to elucidate the facts. A long discussion ensued where he remembers “Cipo,” as he called Salvatore: “A boy with a big heart.”
Salvatore was his friend, right?
“He was a great friend of mine, I’d say…”
Did you make other trips together?
“Yes, we have been to several places before like Prague and Bucharest.”
Did you see him upset or worried the night he died?
“Cipo had a broken heart.”
For a woman? Or had he given any other concerns?
“He has seen no reason to live. He was a very intelligent person, and he was studying complex subjects. He had a crush on a girl; he talked about it very openly. I am telling all this because of the many false and ferocious things that have been said about us these days. Some have tried to pass us off as murderers, not caring about our feelings. With little information, it is impossible to get a story out of it. It’s like assembling a puzzle without most of the pieces.”
What happened then, that night? Tell us.
“It was a closed party, among old friends who had known each other for more than five years. Cipo was clearly angry for a couple of weeks. We were on the sidelines having fun, and we made plans for the other days. We were hoping to talk about his problems in person. Going on into the night, Cipo was becoming more and more self-enclosed and holding the phone. At one point, he stood up and did what he did. The police are investigating: they made every effort to understand what happened. When the results will be finally sent to the Italian police, everyone will realize that this story is hurting us. As well as all these suspicions.”
What was said wrong?
“I’ll make it simple. There was no fifth man. There was no murder. Cipo talked to Adrian on the phone for ten minutes on an issue that only the three of us could know.”
And the sign of which he speaks in the audio file?
“Leave a mark? It’s a phrase that didn’t mean to us the moment he was saying it. After what happened, I reconstructed and understood. He was scratching the table with something sharp… and we said not to do it.”
And does online gaming have anything to do with this?
“We never played Call of Duty. We played several games, spending time together in voice chat for five years.”
So you weren’t in Warsaw to play?
“Right, it was a holiday.”
The presence of drugs was hypothesized. Is it possible that Salvatore used drugs?
“He was using legal things that helped him deal with his anxiety problems.
Nothing was offered to Salvatore”, adds the young man, “to be honest, I do not worry because I know we are innocent”.
Is it true that relief efforts were only called by two Dutch tourists?
“I called the ambulance immediately after he jumped.”
Have you talked to Salvatore’s parents after what happened?
“They could’ve talked to me, but they wanted to talk to Iacopo because they don’t speak English. They talked to him for about fifteen minutes. At that moment I was beside him.”
Funerals took place at the end of March 2019 at the church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Ponsacco. The boy’s mother, Suphapron Thiansamran (photo below), known to all in Ponsacco as Mary, had this to say at the end of the ceremony:
“Salvatore is no longer here because of wrong friends, not because of Internet games.”
Parents Suphapron “Mary” Thiansamran and Carmine Cipolletti
Words confirmed by Salvatore’s work co-workers from Axis Group:
“Out with the truth!
He was a golden boy, who loved the gym and life. He was very happy to leave for Poland, we had seen him on Friday 8th, the day before he left,” the workers continue. “Salvatore did not commit suicide, something strange happened in that house, we are sure of it.”
The family was also visited by Salvatore’s ex-high-school colleagues of Liceo del Pesenti in Cascina, where he graduated in accounting. Even the boys who grew up together with Salvatore are shocked and incredulous. They don’t believe that Salvatore has decided lucidly and consciously to throw himself from the seventh floor. The atmosphere, during the funeral, was full of pain, tension, and anger.
At Salvatore’s funeral, Valeria was also present. The young man had written to her just a few minutes before he died. Pointing to the name of a young Polish man who was not in the apartment, but who is a friend on Cipolletti’s Facebook, then sending her a message: “It’s our moment, our suicide…”
Salvatore’s mental health status before his fatal gesture is still unknown. The forensic and toxicologic analysis done by the Polish investigators will determine if the family will pursue charges against illegal activity on Italian soil. Meaning that if Salvatore or one of his friends has demonstrably committed unlawful acts on Italian territory, the investigation should extend to Italian jurisdiction. A very strong lead might be the fact that Salvatore had accessed the darknet from his house.
The inquiry is pending as the saddening case reveals to be even more complicated. Salvatore’s root motive has yet to be identified as he appeared to have a fulfilling life both socially and economically. In fact, his Facebook page reveals a flourishing young man surrounded by friends, family, and women.
After all, substance abuse might have also influenced him in committing such an erratic act. Alcohol in combination with LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is known to provoke powerful hallucinations and damage the decision-making prefrontal cortex of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is under development until the age of 25 and has been linked to an individual’s will to live, decision making, and personality.
A seasonal worker in France was convicted of buying 55 grams of darkweb cannabis. The young man also received a nine-month suspended sentence, a €1,500 fine, and has been banned from entering French territory for five years.
On Thursday 7th of March 2019, a 19-year-old seasonal attendant in France was summoned in court after the hotel bar manager in Val Thorens reported to the police suspicious parcels coming to his establishment.
The English-speaking employee had purchased a total of three parcels off the darknet in exchange for bitcoins. However, the strong herbal smell from the cannabis put the investigation in motion. Upon further inspection, the gendarmes found 55 grams of marijuana, alongside another package destined to the same person with many small zip sachets and a precision scale.
Palais de justice d’Albertville
The Albertville Criminal Court judged him in the Savoie department of south-eastern France. His parents who are both lawyers helped put together his defense strategy. The young culprit has admitted ordering the cannabis but never intended to re-sell. He showed remorse and cooperated throughout the rather expedient trial:
“I realized that I made a big mistake. If it even can be considered a mere mistake. It was a friend who showed me the darknet saying that cannabis was cheaper there, ” he declared in court.
To which, Judge Michelle Raffin replied: “We must, then, hope that this friend does not give you advice too often.”
Finally, the court was convinced by defense attorney Mr. Paul Salvisberg that his client was not a dealer but only a consumer. Arguing that the festive setting of Val Thorens and the growing acceptance of cannabis all influenced his client into committing the illegal internet drug order.
On the other hand, the prosecution led by Jean Ailhaud was insisting on the precision scale and multiple zip bags ordered by the man.
“Even if he is not prosecuted for selling narcotics, this young man, who calls himself a simple consumer, was still well organized by ordering all this material,” Judge Michelle Raffin underlined.
Consequently, he was punished with a nine-month suspended sentence, a €1,500 fine, and was deemed persona non grata in France for five years. According to the French Penal Code, personal narcotic use provides a penalty of up to one year of prison and a fine of up to €3,750.
Three public employees from the Italian municipal office of Venaria Reale, Via Goito street in Turin, are indicted for child pornography and aggravated fraud. Police officers found a total of 38 thousand files of which two thousand depicting minors in profoundly disturbing sexual or even violent situations. The files are thought to have been downloaded in the last six months.
More shockingly is the fact that previously, a female employee had reported suffering an anonymous sexual attack. She had left her water bottle on her desk overnight, and the next morning she found it of a strange color and consistency. Lab results showed the bottle had been contaminated with semen.
The first arrested municipal worker has been fired from office. He’s a 61-year-old man from the accountancy and economics office, accused of peculation, fraud, and child pornography. The second suspect is his wife, a personnel office employee who is charged with fraud. The third suspect is another employee from the planning office also charged with trafficking child pornography.
Investigators found that between September the 26th of 2018 and February the 5th of 2019, almost 38 thousand pornographic files were downloaded from the computers of the arrested employee and that of the reported colleague, including photos and videos. Of these, 2127 with minors. Almost eight thousand files in the period from December the 31st of 2018 to February the 5th of 2019, with nearly 500 videos or photos with children.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the pedopornography was saved and re-sold on the darknet. A theory also confirmed by the disproportionate figures found on the seized bank accounts. One of the two subjects had also created a database with all the visited porn sites and those that would still have to access.
“I’m not ashamed to say that, seeing some pictures showing children tortured and raped, I vomited,” said police commander Luca Vivalda.
The inquiry started when computer technicians observed a slow and overloaded network between 9 in the morning to 18 in the evening. Moreso, the municipality had recently installed a vast bandwidth network for reducing operational timing.
“But something was not going well, since the exchange of information was very slow, which is why I asked the technicians of the company that installed the software on our tablets, and it is thanks to this intervention that we have discovered the anomalies, with the often slow and overloaded network, thus giving life to the investigation, the arrest, and the two complaints”, explains Luca Vivalda.
The pair was downloading 60-70 megabytes out of the 100 megabytes available to the City, every day. Investigations have shown that the arrested culprit had a second “job” as an online gambler and trader on the stock exchange.
Also under questioning is the wife of the 61-year-old man who is accused of falsely attributing worked hours to the suspects:
“I want to be good and say that one worked a week in six months and the other one did not. They justified only the minimum working hours required by the union, says Luca Vivalda. Mayor Falcone promised he’ll check the rest of his municipality for similar cases.
On the other hand, the defense attorney of the 61-year-old culprit and wife, deny almost all accusations:
“At the current state of the investigation, the number of downloaded videos has not yet been quantified with precision and the material that, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, has been identified as pedopornography. Then, it is absolutely not true that my clients would have sold or divulged the material downloaded to the black market or with any other means. This profile was not even challenged by the prosecutor. Moreover, the current bank accounts of my clients are absolutely not seized. As far as his wife is concerned, the investigations have not brought out relevant responsibilities because she had no power to assign overtime and/or vacation days because of her role as a mere employee of the personnel office,” lawyer Francesco Dal Piaz declared.
According to the Italian Penal Code regarding child pornography, the group faces between six to twelve years and fines from € 24,000 to € 240,000.
Mayor Falcone Roberto (left) and Police Commander Luca Vivalda (right)
A 27-year-old man was convicted on Monday, 18th of February 2019, for using counterfeit money at a snack bar in Michelau. He was sentenced to one year of probation by the district court of Lichtenfels after being accused of paying with counterfeit in two instances.
Originally from Dörfles-Esbach, the culprit tried to exchange his fake €50 banknotes at a snack bar. After successfully deceiving the cashier the first time, in September of 2017, he got caught the second time he tried to fool the same establishment a month after, in October 2017. The business owner was swiftly advised by his bank that his deposits contained fake money. Both the police and bar staff was informed and remained vigilant. Surely enough, the fraudster attempted the scam again. However, while he was waiting for his exchange, the cashier retreated, took a photo of the suspect, and called the police. The suspect fled the scene after becoming suspicious.
Both the photo and two false €50 bills landed in the search system of the Coburger Kriminaldauerdienst service. He was deemed a wanted man for fiscal fraud. After a while, the brother of the defendant’s current fiancé started the police academy and recognized the man in a photo.
A house raid followed. Among other things, his laptop was confiscated. The accused objected to the seizure, arguing that the €600-laptop wasn’t even paid off. Nevertheless, Judge Barausch and prosecutor Philip Pasch remained tough on the issue:
“With the laptop, the counterfeit money was ordered from the darknet, so it is a (crime) tool that must be secured,” said Barausch. The accused finally agreed.
He paid €30-worth of bitcoin for a few fake €50 notes. However, the bills looked phony. As the culprit would declare himself in front of the judge, the whole operation was “naive.” The young man described how he had an awful feeling when opening the darkweb envelope. He took out the unconvincing forged bills but decided to use them, anyhow.
The trial ended with a sentence of one year of probation. Three months less than what the prosecution had asked. Furthermore, the defendant must pay €500 euros to a non-profit organization. The court considered it an isolated incident and took into consideration the fact that the man was soon to get married to his fiancé. Even if he was three years older than the minimum age to qualify for penal juvenility, the court took into consideration his “good social forecast” and favored a suspended sentence.
On Monday 11th of February 2019, the Arad Justice Court in Romania issued the first-instance sentence for two pedophiles aged 44 and 22, and the mother of the abused child aged 50-years-old. They were sentenced to eleven years, nine years and six months, and eight years of imprisonment, respectively. The disturbed trio had abused the 11-year-old child from Zădăreni in multiple instances and was ordered to pay moral reparations of €150,000.
The mother of the abused child
Investigators detained the gang in April 2018 over suspicions of pedophilia. The suspects from Zădăreni and Felnac were apprehended after a brief inquiry among the villagers. Locals confirmed that the mother was benefitting economically from allowing abusers to enter her home. It was also later suspected that the mother had even tried to sell her child over the darknet.
“From the researches made, it was established that between July the 1st, 2016 and April the 1st of 2018, the two men, through physical and psychological constraints, taking advantage of the boy’s inability of expressing his will, repeatedly had sexual intercourse with the minor,” the representatives of the Arad County Police Inspectorate Press Office declared.
Justice Palace in Arad, Romania
Police discovered that the boy was abused since he was ten years old. Now 12 years old, he received psychological counseling and help from the Child Protection Department of Arad. The Romanian Penal Code requires a minimum of seven years for sexually abusing minors. However, due to the aggravating circumstances, the trio received additional prison terms. The sentence is not definitive, but hardly contestable.
On Friday the 1st of February 2019, The Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) police task force from Romania has arrested an ex-colleague officer from the Police Inspectorate of Iași County. The 37-year-old man Christian Danu (photo-left) was accused by the Prosecutors Office of the City of Vaslui for growing, selling, and manufacturing cannabis, as well as trafficking darknet ecstasy (MDMA) and ketamine.
News outlets from Romania titled the story as “The wolf guarding the sheep.”
One of the most influent dealers of the Romanian County of Iași was a police officer. His girlfriend, Diana Lăcrămioara Muntean (photo-right), and another young student from the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” Iasi University are also involved in the scandal.
Cristian Danu was flagrantly arrested in the night between 31st of January and 1st of February 2019, shortly after receiving a parcel from Deleni commune, Vaslui County from Belgium. He became a police officer in 2017 and served in the Răducăneni Commune in Iași County, close to the border with the Republic of Moldova. He’s also suspected of accepting bribes from Moldavian citizens to help them get Romanian passports or at least speed up the process.
He was allegedly described by his colleagues as “crazy after money” and that “he would make money out of anything.”
The majority of the drugs were ordered from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany through the darkweb. Together with Danu and his girlfriend, a young student from “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași was involved in the large-scale drug operation. The two men lived in the city of Iași, but both are originally from Vaslui.
“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași
The pack contained 168 grams of ketamine, an anesthetic for mammals that produces a tranquilized, even hallucinogenic state. More so, the suspect was also dealing darkweb ecstasy tablets containing MDMA:
“It was established that in May 2018 the defendant ordered from Germany 100 extasy tablets containing MDMA, high-risk drugs that were introduced in the country in October 2018,” the DIICOT representatives declared.
Most interesting is the fact that the ex-policeman had an outdoor cannabis plantation outside his home village of Vaslui. Alongside his girlfriend, they obtained over 12 kilograms of refined cannabis, ready to be sold on the streets of Iasi. The total street value is estimated at nearly $200,000.
Danu’s chief of staff, Chief Commissioner Adrian Stoian, explained that the ex-agent accused of high-risk drug trafficking had been recently promoted to head of the police post in Răducăneni:
“He was young. He had been promoted temporarily during the past year. Now his job post is vacant, I have not yet called anyone. Probably will soon. I have no details of the investigation, “said Adrian Stoian, the head of the Iasi Police.
“He joined the police two years ago. He was about two years old when he joined the cops. He was recruited from an external source. I do not know him personally. We thought that young recruits would clean up our police force, but it did a lot of harm to the image of the Iasi police. We are angry with such behavior, “said chief commissioner Costel Gâtlan, head of County Police Inspectorate (IPJ) Iaşi on Friday.
According to his wealth statement, the policeman had $13,000 in a bank account, a 2001 Renault, and a loan at BRD bank of $13,700. However, investigators suspect hidden wealth and undeclared proprieties.
Even though the case might appear surreal, it is not the first time a police officer was caught in similar circumstances in Iași. In 2014, Catalin Grierosua, a Special Operations Officer and former employee of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), was arrested for trafficking live animals. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
According to the Romanian Penal Code, suspect Cristian Danu and his girlfriend Diana Lăcrămioara Muntean are facing a prison term from 3 to 15 years. However, if found guilty of other aggravating circumstances such as internationally trafficking high-risk drugs, he might face a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail, the maximum sentence allowed in the European Union. Trail in process.
On Monday 3rd of February 2019, a 31-year-old Austrian man from Vorarlberg received a suspended prison term of ten months, €6000 penalty, and additional €400 fine for the court proceedings.
The culprit had ordered 48 false banknotes of €50 from the darkweb. He then paid a pizza and a taxi cab with the fake euros. However, not even a month after the darknet order had been placed, police has raided the man’s residence securing the leftover fake currency. More shockingly for the prosecution, the man had a stable job with a monthly salary of €1900.
Nobody in court has disputed the naivety of the man’s illegal actions. Pledging for a lenient sentence, defense attorney Stefan Denifl had this to declare:
“My client has a good job, leads a decent lifestyle, and regrets his rudeness very much.” He continued saying that he had fallen under temptation.
The sentence is final. According to the Austrian Penal Code, whoever knowingly inserts into circulation counterfeit money, is liable for punishment of no less than one year in prison. Furthermore, there weren’t any aggravating circumstances such as major economic damage, acting on a commercial basis, being part of a gang, or using violence. Thus, the defendant received a suspended sentence and a hefty fine.
Ten private residences and premises were raided in Gronau, Germany on Friday 1st of February 2019 as apart of a German-Dutch operation. The joint task force executed ten arrest warrants and successfully apprehended twelve suspects, four under European Arrest Warrants.
Law enforcement has been tracking the group since 2018. They’d send hard drugs from the Netherlands to Germany through the post office. A total of 13 members are accused in this case, twelve of them arrested on Friday.
“According to the investigation so far, three main suspects arrested today are said to have organized the order and shipping. The accused are a 31-year-old Afghan citizen living in Enschede, his 27-year-old brother resident in Gronau, and a 33-year-old Dutchman from Enschede,” according to a press release from the Dutch Customs.
The starting point of the investigation was the case-related information obtained by the Nordhorn Customs. The illegal mailing of drugs from the deep web has been a well-known practice on the Dutch border for years.
The close cooperation between the two countries has led to the alleged perpetrator group. Already during the covert phase of the very intensive investigations, drug shipments in letters and parcels for recipients worldwide were captured. Including nearly 25 kilograms of amphetamine, 1.6 kilograms of pure MDMA, 1.1 kilograms of ecstasy tablets, 170 grams of cocaine, and 145 grams of heroin with a total street sale value of more than €400,000. To capture the group, a joint investigation team between Dutch and German authorities was founded.
“According to the findings so far, the authorities assume that the drugs ordered in the Darknet were ordered online, paid in cryptocurrency and packaged by other suspects, either in the Netherlands or in Germany, at the command of the main defendants. The alleged gang supposedly used apartments rented for this purpose in its storage and packaging activities in the Twente region of the Netherlands and the Borken district in Germany,” Customs officials declared.
The modus operandi of the group consisted of daily journies across the German border from the Netherlands and then expedited nationally or internationally. Ready-packed and frank stamped, the parcels were sent from postal offices alongside the German border from Bad Bentheim to the northern Ruhr area.
More interesting, is the transport vehicle seized by the task force. The car was designed to fill every spare space with drugs. Furthermore, the searches on Friday also found numerous written documents, computers, and mobile phones.
The operation has involved German and Dutch prosecutors, German customs investigators, FIOD (Dutch Investigative Service), EUROJUST, and EUROPOL. The accusation of gang-related international drug trafficking is very severe in both countries. However, Germany has slightly more lax laws than the Netherlands. If found guilty, they face up to ten years in prison.
The 29-yeard-old man was apprehended on Wednesday 30th of January 2018 after trying to pay for goods with a forged ID and paper check in a shopping center in Nantes. The man has confessed his crime, and upon checking his residence, police found thirteen counterfeit €50 banknotes. Items purchased on the deep web, he declared.
The suspect was arrested Wednesday afternoon after paying for his shopping cart with the fake check and ID. However, the management of the hypermarket has blacklisted his fake financial references after the man scammed the same store on 23rd of November and 3rd of December of 2018. The cashier delayed the transaction and alerted the mall security.
Police arrived and took the suspect for questioning where he admitted everything. The accused told investigators he was in severe economic distress which rendered him desperate. He said he paid 350 euros for six check forms.
Putting into circulation counterfeit currency and using false identification are two crimes that require very severe penalties by the French Penal Code. Although the court might take into consideration the defendant’s mitigating factor of financial difficulties, he still risks a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of up to €150,000.