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Bunker bust George 'The Penguin' Mitchell's business partner jailed for running dark web market

Darknet commander Hermann Xennt ran online market selling drugs and child pornography from an underground bunker

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The Sunday World found George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell with Xennt

The Sunday World found George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell with Xennt

The Sunday World found George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell with Xennt

George 'The Penguin' Mitchell's business partner has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail after a German court found that he was running a dark web supermarket selling drugs and child pornography from an underground bunker.

Dutch oddball Hermann Xennt spent a year on trial before he was convicted this week along with seven others for operating a data centre at a former NATO bunker in Traben Trarbach in the Mosel Valley.

The bunker and the relationship between Xennt and Mitchell was first uncovered by the Sunday World in 2015 and led to a massive investigation by German police, who kept it and the pair under surveillance over a number of years.

Through wiretaps and placing undercover operatives in the bunker they discovered that among the illegal services hosted there were Cannabis Road, Fraudsters, Flugsvamp, Flight Vamp 2.0, orangechemicals and the world's second largest drugs marketplace, Wall Street Market.

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German cops found more than 800 servers inside the facility

German cops found more than 800 servers inside the facility

German cops found more than 800 servers inside the facility

It was raided in September 2019 by 600 police officers and Xennt and a number of accomplices were arrested.

But when the case came to court it emerged that Mitchell had slipped the net when he became suspicious that police may have been watching him.

In a huge probe the German police cybercrime unit bought up thousands of dollars of Bitcoin and created an illegal website which they then sought to host at Xennt's facility.

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The Sunday World found George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell with Xennt, who ran the facility, in 2015

The Sunday World found George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell with Xennt, who ran the facility, in 2015

The Sunday World found George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell with Xennt, who ran the facility, in 2015

During the raid there were more than 800 servers and hard drives along with USBs, laptops, computers, phones and more than one hundred thousand euro in cash.

Seven other defendants were given sentences ranging from four years and three months in prison to one year. All were convicted of forming and membership of a criminal organisation but were acquitted of being accessories to the 250,000 crimes identified in court documents.

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German cops found more than 800 servers inside the facility

German cops found more than 800 servers inside the facility

German cops found more than 800 servers inside the facility

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At one point during the trial a lawyer asked if criminal godfather Mitchell could give evidence on behalf of Xennt on a virtual link from Spain as he believed he was under investigation in Germany and was afraid to attend the court in Trier.

Uwe Hegner, who represented Xennt, said Mitchell was ready to testify and to give a statement that would shake the credibility of another defendant who confessed to his role in the bunker.

The Penguin had been off the radar for decades until the Sunday World tracked him down in the company of Xennt, the self professed 'Lord' of the darknet.

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Cops kept the bunker under surveillance before pouncing

Cops kept the bunker under surveillance before pouncing

Cops kept the bunker under surveillance before pouncing

Xennt had bought the bunker in the preceding years and registered it as a data centre, but after our story appeared police decided to take a closer look at what was really going on there.

Mitchell went by the name Mr Green when he was in Germany but had returned to Spain before investigators moved in.

The trial heard that Mitchell was the financier behind an earlier bunker associated with Xennt in the Netherlands where an ecstasy factory was discovered after a fire broke out.

The court heard that The Penguin put up the €700,000 to buy it back in 1995, meaning his relationship with Xennt spans almost three decades.

Mitchell was trying to develop his own encrypted phone service at the bunker in Traben Trarbach and had his own riverside apartment in the village.

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