A Swiss police officer is being investigated for alleged involvement in arms trafficking over the darknet.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland is investigating the logistics chief of the cantonal police of Schwyz for alleged violations of the War Material Act, the Tages-Anzeiger reported on Thursday.
The Federal Office of Police searched the suspect’s home on February 22. Police officers found a weapons cache so large that a back-up van had to be called to transport it all.
The head of logistics was placed in pre-trial detention and released two months later. He denies the accusations of arms trafficking but refuses to speak out on the subject because of the ongoing investigation.
The case has raised suspicions of favouritism, breach of official secrecy and unfair management. The head of Schwyz cantonal police, Damian Meier, said he had been shocked by the charges against his former subordinate, who was immediately suspended.
An internal investigation was then carried out which led to the discovery of missing service ammunition worth several tens of thousands of francs, according to the Tages-Anzeiger. No service weapons were found.
The discovery was the result of an investigation launched in 2013 from southern Germany, where police looked into arms trade over the darknet, a private portion of the internet that is hidden from search engines and is often used for illicit activities.
German hunters reported hearing rounds of automatic weapons being fired in the forests. Police focused at first on a young fanatical arms buyer and then on a seller operating under the pseudonym Clultimate. The buyer was arrested and sentenced in 2014 after slaughtering three cows in a field.
The dismantling of that network and weapons confiscation during the arrest of the reseller in June 2017 revealed links between the weapons dealer and the logistics manager at the Schwyz cantonal police. Buyers reportedly met Clultimate in a car park near the Einsiedeln convent and tested their weapons in a nearby quarry.
The German police concluded Clultimate was in fact two people: the German retailer and their supplier in Schwyz. The public prosecutor in Schwyz was alerted in August 2017 but took no action. It took a visit from German investigators with a request for mutual assistance to launch the judicial machine two months later.
The Swiss authorities are now investigating where the suspect got the weapons and how many were sold.