German law enforcement arrested Philipp only days after the Munich massacre. He then worked with the BKA to catch other darknet weapons and buyers. “He confessed and cooperated with the investigating authorities,” said a spokesman for the Frankfurt Prosecutor’s Office.
The original charges, according to Georg Ungefuk, from the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office of Frankfurt, were “issued only because of the violation of the arms laws.” The later charges came from “further investigation of the secured communication from the supposed arms dealer on the Darknet – the secret area of the Internet – however, showed indications of negligence. There was [initially] no evidence that the 31-year-old Marburger knew what the amok gunman had in mind.”
Ungefuk referred to the recent action by the Federal Police where they raided the owner of the German darknet forum known as Deutschland im DeepWeb (DIDW). DIDW functioned as a forum primarily, but the site also allowed sellers and buyers to connect and conduct business through the darknet. The server owner, for facilitating the trade of firearms and other illegal items, is currently at the Detention Center at the District Court of Karlsruhe awaiting trial.
On that seized forum, investigators discovered conversations between who they believed to have been Sonboly and Philipp. Both used anonymous usernames and Sonboly used several. “Hi, I’m looking for a Glock 17 with a total of 250 rounds of ammunition,” one of the forum posts read. While the contents of the private messages have not been leaked yet, they will likely surface during the trial.
Chief prosecutor Florian Weinzierl, in his opening statement, said that, Philipp “empowered” Sonboly to execute his plan. This empowerment, according to the prosecution, constituted involuntary manslaughter. Philipp faces charges for selling the gun and the ammunition, but also for violating Germany’s Military Weapons Control Act.