A 20-year-old and a 28-year-old Swiss citizen were sentenced for using counterfeit euros that they ordered from the dark web.
On April 20, 2016, the two suspects from Northwestern Switzerland ordered ten notes of 50 euros from the dark web, according to official court information. They paid for the currency with bitcoins. The duo received the bills on May 17. On the same day, they traveled to Weil am Rhein, Germany with the purpose to use the counterfeit money.
They tried to pay with one of the 50 euro notes for two bottles of mineral water in a restaurant on the main street in Friedlingen. However, they failed. The waitress, after she noticed that the bill was counterfeit, immediately called the police and held the two suspects at the restaurant. On the scene, law enforcement authorities found a plastic bag, hidden in the 28-year-old’s underpants, containing the other nine 50 euro notes.
After their arrests, both suspects immediately confessed their crimes and showed full cooperation with the police. According to the 28-year-old, he was in an “acute money shortage” and he came with the “stupid idea” to order counterfeit bills from the dark web and use the notes in Germany.
According to court information, the two suspects have been friends for about four years. Both of them had grown up in Switzerland, and have Serbian roots. To clarify the facts, they were held in detention for a week. After that, they were released on bail.
The Bundesbank made a statement on the poor quality of the counterfeit bills. According to them, the paper quality, the color design and the “missing groove profile” made the notes easily recognizable.
The fraud of counterfeiting could be punished with one to 15 years in prison. However, the prosecutor considered this as a minor case since the two accused confessed and cooperated with law enforcement authorities. The prosecution recommended a nine-month prison sentence for the older suspect, while he would give the 20-year-old a six-month suspended sentence. Additionally, he would fine both suspects for 1,200 euros. However, the juvenile court of justice, chaired by Martin Graf, sentenced the 28-year-old to six months of probation without a financial charge. The younger defendant has to pay 800 euros in fine.
There is a German website called migrantenshreck.ru (means migrant fright in English), a firearm shop, promising fast and discreet product delivery for customers who would like to protect themselves against asylum seekers. Mario Rönsch, a well-known right-wing German extremist is the alleged administrator of the website. He is infamous in the country for calling for violence and incitement. The man is selling guns that could be used with pepper spray cartridges, and equipment for the weapons. According to the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol), an authorization is needed for the import of such firearms. However, the website received no import searches and all of the customers acquired the weapons in Switzerland illegally.
Swiss authorities could do not much against the website and the chance for customs detecting the packages are quite low due to the high number of parcels arriving daily. Swiss police need legal permission to perform a home search, which could be only obtained if incriminating evidence is present in the case.