Operators of notorious dark web service jailed — Analysis

The CyberBunker Darknet Service Provider, which operated out of a Cold War-era NATO Bunker, was sentenced by a German Court. They were found guilty of helping to facilitate nearly 250,000 illegal transactions mostly linked to the drug trade.

Eight defendants were found guilty by the court of helping to facilitate illicit transactions. The vast majority of these illegal transactions related to drug trading. According to the court, eight defendants were found guilty of enabling illicit transactions that involved child abuse and contract killings as well as money laundering.

On Monday, a Trier regional court handed down the sentences. 

One of the defendants was given a suspended sentence for one year, but others were sent to jail. His son, who is a Dutch citizen aged 62, will serve four years, three months, and the longest sentence.

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While the defendants’ identities were not disclosed in accordance with German law, the jailed ‘ringleader’ is apparently Herman Johan Verwoert-Derksen. This Dutch national was the operator of CyberBunker darknet web hosting since the late 1990s, before being raided several years later by police. According to the service provider, it claimed that they were the ones hosting. Services to all Web sites, “except for child pornography or anything that is related to terrorism.”

Although CyberBunker hosted a majority of adult sites at first, it has grown in popularity over time. The organization is believed to have hosted the infamous torrent tracker Pirate Bay, some mirrors of WikiLeaks, as well as the “Wall Street Market” and “Fraudsters” – major, currently-defunct darknet marketplaces. 

The group originally operated from a defunct Cold War-era bunker in the Netherlands, but was ultimately forced to move to Germany – buying an old bunker there as well. 

A massive 600-strong force from the German police raided Traben Trarbach’s NATO fortification. This operation put the CyberBunker as well as its darknet clients out business.



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