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New Information Regarding The Shiny Flakes Bust

In March 2015, Shiny Flakes, a huge deepweb vendor, who also had its own website on both the darknet and clearnet, has been busted by the German police. The police have found 320 KGs of drugs, including huge amounts of MDMA, speed, cocaine, LSD, hash and 49,000 Euro cash, precision scales and vacuum devices in the room of a Leipzig apartment. The apartment’s owner is the 20 year old Maximilian S, who’s trial will start on the 24th of August. The Leipzig Court accuses him as the leader of the whole operation and with the selling of 914 Kgs of drugs. The police have also found his Bitcoin wallet where he has stored 1197 Bitcoins, which could worth 325,000 Euros.

We have already known this information, however, recently, the German police have revealed how they have caught Maximilian S and busted the whole operation of the Shiny Flakes marketplace. They have revealed the mistakes the suspect has made. Firstly, the biggest mistake that he made while he was operating on the darknet was using the same packing station all the time. Not that he just used the same station, but it was quite close to his home where he was living with his family. For the road to the packing station, he always called a taxi with a cell phone. However, in the last case he was pretty smart, since when the police have raided his house, they have found several pieces of SIM cards and phones. The other big mistake he made was making the drug deliveries a routine appointment. His courier, who was supplying him the drugs that he sold on the darknet, arrived on Thursday every week. On February 24, the German police have inspected how the courier sold 25,000 Ecstasy tablets, 20 kilograms of hash, 10,000 LSD blotters and 27 kg Amphetamine to the operator of Shiny Flakes. After the deal has gone down and Maximilian S. has started to pack the drugs in the doorway, the police have arrested the supplier a few corners away.

During the arrest the police officers, who have been involved in the bust, had big luck. They have found the login details for the most important websites and usernames on the deepweb. With this info, they could easily access the vendor sites of Shiny Flakes and could have checked what and how many deals the suspect of the case could have made while the vendor and marketplace sites were operating.

Maximilian have made his mistakes, however, if we really look into the whole operation, he had protected himself pretty well. He used various SIM cards and cell phones for communication, he also had a tool that could create magnetic cards that he could use at packing stations without giving out his real identity. With these tools, he was well-equipped for global drug trade, which he did well for a time, until he was caught. Also, an interesting information, as he was living with his mother and stepfather in a house together, they haven’t even noticed anything that their son is doing. The whole operation of Maximilian was running in his room and stayed in there until the police have busted the place.

In my opinion, Maximilian never ever expected to be arrested: He knew that the police would be neither able to read his PGP-encrypted e-mails, even to pursue his Bitcoin cash flows. He also knew how he was able to hire smart enough using the Tor network in digital distribution without unmasking himself. The URLs of his store sites were registered in Tonga and the Cocos Islands, the servers were in the Netherlands.

It is a question what sentence would Maximilian get at his trial. By the German law, it could be possible that, since he is 20 years old, he would get a juvenile sentence, however, the drugs that have been found in his apartment are 15000 times more than the „minor amount”. This could lead to an adult sentence. If that could be implemented to his case, he would get a maximum of 15 years.

6 comments

  1. Interesting article; terrible diction!

  2. Some more info that has not been translated: according to the article insufficient postage (stamping) led to the discovery. Secondly, he was also observed by surveillance camera’s of the packing station.
    But of course, his biggest mistake was to visit the same station again and again. Sooner or later his ‘illicit’ activities would have been discovered by the employees of the station.
    In this business you should change contacts, places you visit etc., as often as you can. Failure to do so will prove fatal, sooner or later.

  3. Although this is something of a self-evident point to make, it is almost universally the case in these “dark web” LEO actions that some or substantially all information regarding investigation tactics provided publicly are, in a word, bullshit.

    In the U.S. there is a specific name for a closely-related process: “parallel construction.” Elsewhere, it’s certainly commonplace for similar disinformational techniques to be used, and in general we note the common shortcomings in these “created for public consumption” explanations as they appear more and more often in the mainstream press.

    For example, DPR wasn’t busted because he ordered some fake ID to his “real” address with his picture on it, and a sharp-eyed inspector in some Orwellian hive of drone-worker government snoops just happened to notice it as it crossed her desk. It’s a mildly interesting cover story, that nonsensical explanation… and even a bit entertaining, in some senses. It’s also total bullshit.

    People are getting busted out there because spy agencies are using heavy-firepower digital weaponry to shred the assumed protections of substantially all “privacy” tools used by even fairly technically savvy targets. That the mechanisms being used to accomplish this are often either poorly understood in the civilian researcher community or are largely a mystery to us should not fool anyone into making the imputed leap to a doubting of whether such mechanisms exist. Rather, that scarcity of drill-down data largely means that the spy shops have become better at preventing ‘leaks’ of details regarding their illegal digital weaponry, post-Snowden.

    Put another way, we may not know exactly how the gold disappeared from the supposedly ultra-secure vault under the bank – in some metaphorical parallel universe where gold stands in for bust-fuelling data – but we do know it didn’t get removed by the tooth fairy. Also, it didn’t get sucked into a pinhole-sized neutron star that miraculously appeared for a micro-millisecond in the vault by pure random chance. No, those just-so fairytales – cool though they sound – are not in any tight relationship with consensus reality.

    Rather, we know – or Occam can’t stop suggesting to us in strongest possible terms – that the paper-thin cover stories that get shopped out after these busts take place are explicitly constructed and deployed in order to keep hidden whatever tools were actually used.

    Sad thing is, these inelegant, self-evidently obviously mendacious distraction narratives seem to be swallowed whole-cloth by far too many people who should – and do – know better than to do so. Likely this reflects something of the fear people have when they are ignorant of the full capabilities of a deadly-serious adversary: rather than overtly accepting, and working to lessen, that ignorance some people will go to amazing lengths to convince themselves the fake story actually explains what took place.

    Pace Kevin Spacey in “American Beauty”… never underestimate the power of denial.

    Cheers,

    cryptostorm network

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