Gate to the Underworld The German Bunker that Became a Hub of International Crime

A former military facility in Germany’s Mosel region served as a hub for organized crime on the internet until 650 police shut it down in a raid. The bizarre story behind the bunker that is likely to produce countless criminal cases. By DER SPIEGEL Staff
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Marcus Kaufhold/ DER SPIEGEL

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They must have felt like they were in a digital Tora Bora
Foto: MARCUS KAUFHOLD/ DER SPIEGEL
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A Look Inside the Cyberbunker in Traben-Trarbach

"This is not about what the accused did,” says one investigator, "but about what they knew.”
"Our servers can be compared with safe deposit boxes in banks," Xennt wrote.

Police believe the Dutchman Hermann Johan Xennt was the head of the bunker on Mont Royal.

He referred to himself as "Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cyberbunker Republic."

Traben-Trabach Mayor Patrice-Christian-Roger Langer

Foto: Bert Bostelmann/ bildfolio/ DER SPIEGEL
With the darknet, it only takes a few clicks to arrive in the underworld.

These Rottweilers guarded the premises and barked like crazy if anyone got too close. Frightened locals even complained to the town authorities about them.

Police are aware of the bunker's ties in Colombia as well as with a German biker gang.
"Many people who we arrest have no previous criminal record,” said a Frankfurt public prosecutor tracking cybercrimes.

Police arrested nine Cyberbunker workers at the Stadt-Mühle, a restaurant in Traben-Trarbach.

Foto: Bert Bostelmann/ bildfolio/ DER SPIEGEL
There was "no probable cause," according to the chief public prosecutor.

A man with many names: George M. (right), also known as Mr. Green or the "Penguin," is believed to have been the real boss of the criminal organization.

Foto: Kevin Mc Nulty/ Sunday World
For the "Penguin" alone, German investigators got a judge's permission to monitor 16 mobile phone numbers.
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Authorities may only have chipped away at the tip of the iceberg.