Tobias Kuster, a Swiss convict serving his prison time, escaped from custody last year. While he was on the run, he allegedly murdered a man and attempted to order a gun from the dark web. He was arrested in January. Earlier this month, the convict confessed and new information was revealed in the investigation. It is now clear that undercover agents of the Australian Federal Police helped Swiss authorities in the arrest of the criminal.
The 23-year-old Tobias Kuster, currently serving five and half years in prison for violent crimes, did not return to the Pöschwies Prison Office from an unaccompanied parole on June 23, 2016. The suspect was on the run for seven months until law enforcement authorities arrested him when he tried to purchase a weapon from the dark web. On June 30, 2016 “MS”, a 42-year-old IT specialist, was stabbed. The police suspect that Kuster was behind the murder.
According to Corinne Bouvard, spokeswoman for the Zürich prosecutor’s office, law enforcement authorities are investigating Kuster’s jailmate, the Lithuanian gangster Irvidias M., who was also serving his prison time in Pöschwies. Investigators believe that there could be a possible Lithuanian connection that influenced Kuster while he was in escape.
“I can confirm this,” Bouvard said. “He’s [Irvidias M.] currently under investigation. The prosecution clarifies his role in the context of the killing.”
Irvidias M. is currently serving an 8-year prison time for blackmailing multiple persons in Zürich, including the billionaire Thomas Schmidheiny. The prison convict demanded 150 million Swiss Francs from Schmidheiny in 2012. According to the Swiss media outlet blick.ch, Tobias Kuster, while he was serving his five-year sentence for attempted predatory blackmail, deprivation of liberty, and other violent offenses, the 23-year-old befriended the Lithuanian criminal. The news outlet suspects that Kuster may have left to Lithuania while he was on the run from law enforcement authorities.
Further research revealed that Kuster had sent a strange letter to the Zürich authorities before the murder of IT expert MS in Seefeld, Zürich. According to Blick, Kuster had written in the letter that Irvidias “should be freed immediately”. Kuster threatened the police that if they do not release Irvidias from custody, “people will die”.
As the prosecutor’s office announced recently, the letter went to the cantonal council. In Kusters’s letter, it was also said that he too would have to die if Irvidias M. was not released from custody. According to the prosecution, Kuster has in the meantime admitted that he wrote the blackmail letter.
It seems that Tobias Kuster chose his victim randomly. While MS was taking a lunch break on a small wall, Kuster stabbed him with a knife in his neck and upper body. The victim, who worked nearby in the botanical garden, died on the scene despite the revival attempts by people who passed by. At first, there were rumors that the attack was connected to drug trafficking. However, later on, law enforcement authorities made it clear that the 42-year-old victim was an innocent person and was not connected to narcotics by any means.
Kuster was arrested on January 18, 2017 by coincidence in the canton of Bern. Law enforcement authorities received information on an unknown suspect, who illegally ordered a gun from the dark web. Investigators placed the delivery point under surveillance and detained Kuster when he tried to retrieve the package. Additionally, two other people were arrested along with the Swiss convict. It is known that one of them is Kuster’s ex-girlfriend, who was released from custody at the end of February. Blick suspects that the other person could be the one who allegedly offered Kuster shelter while he was on the run.
“It is now clarified by the public prosecutor’s office that our client was acting under the influence of other persons,” Valentin Landmann, defending Kuster, said in a statement. However, this thesis is not taken from the air. The Lithuanian is considered as a dangerous criminal, who sent letters threatening with death to multiple persons before his arrest.
“This connection is of course included in the investigation,” Corinne Bouvard said. The prosecutor’s office did not comment on the unknown person who was arrested along with Kuster.
According to the Swiss media outlet limmattalerzeitung.ch, the Australian Federal authorities were involved in the arrest of Kuster. An Aussie undercover agent posed as a weapon vendor, and when the convicted criminal attempted to purchase a Glock 17 gun (the same type of gun the Norwegian Anders Breivik used to kill 69 people in 2011 on the island of Utöya), Australian law enforcement authorities immediately alerted their colleagues in Switzerland. The news outlet added that Kuster was identified after he was arrested and the officers took his fingerprints.
It is a common practice among law enforcement authorities to pose as either buyers or sellers on dark net marketplaces. By doing this, they can easily identify those criminals who are not careful enough. For instance, a vendor can be busted if an undercover agent buys an illicit product from him and he leaves fingerprints or any other details pointing on his DNA on the goods (or the package), which police can use to identify the criminal. Investigators usually have easier jobs with buyers. If a customer tries to purchase an illegal product from an undercover agent who poses as a seller, he has the buyer’s address, which he can transfer to his colleagues who can perform a controlled delivery often resulting in the arrest of the suspect.