Police in Germany have arrested the owner of a dark web marketplace from which a gun used by a teenager to kill nine people in a Munich shopping mall was procured.
A 30-year-old man said to be the hidden website’s administrator detained last Thursday, police said.
Prosecutors said the weapon used by David Ali Sonboly was purchased from the forum, which had 20,000 registered users and sold an assortment of weapons and drugs, as well as counterfeit cash, fake identification documents and stolen credit card and banking details.
Sonboly shot dead ten people inducing himself when he went on a shooting spree at a McDonald’s restaurant in the Olympia shopping mall in the Moosach district of Munich in July last year.
While police originally suspected Sonboly was influenced by Islamism, they later concluded he was a lone gunman obsessed with mass killers such as Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in attacks on Oslo and Utøya in 2011.
Sonboly launched his attack, which resulted in an additional 27 people being injured, on the anniversary of Breivik’s assault.
He was armed with a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol, and was said to have been carrying 300 rounds of ammunition in his backpack when he launched his attack.
German police arrested a man suspected of selling Sonboly the weapon last August after investigating him for unrelated weapons sales on the dark web.
“The sale of the weapons used in the rampage in Munich on July 22, 2016 was… carried out on this platform,” Reuters quotes German prosecutors as saying.
Police seized the server used to host the site when they raided a property belonging to the suspect, who authorities have yet to name.
The man’s arrest comes as law enforcement agencies throughout Europe are becoming increasingly concerned that dark web marketplaces such as these are making it far too easy for criminals and extremists to get hold of lethal firearms.
In April, three British gun smugglers were jailed for a total of 15 years for ordering Glock handguns and ammunition from a hidden website.
Martin Beard and Aaron Bishop were found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court of taking delivery of firearms and bullets ordered from the dark web by Mark Richards.
Speaking after the men were sentenced, senior investigating officer Dawn Cartwright from the UK’s National Crime Agency Border Policing Command commented: “Richards used Beard and Bishop to accept the guns because he believed they were off law enforcement’s radar.
“It has been a long wait to put these men before the court and we are very pleased with the jury’s decision.
“We will continue to target and pursue those supplying illegal guns regardless of how long it takes.”