If you spent the past weekend trolling Netflix, chances are, you’ve seen ads for a new show called How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (now THAT’s a title). In case you’re wondering what the heck this series is about, it involves a 17-year-old German kid named Moritz (played by Maximilian Mundt) who decides to start selling drugs online to win back his ex-girlfriend. Hint: Googling “how to sell drugs online” is NOT how you do it.
Being a self-professed nerd genius, Moritz becomes a successful dealer on the dark web, only to bring his business to the regular old Internet with a site called MyDrugs…with the help of his reluctant best friend Lenny (Danilo Kamber). Although the show is filled with plenty of drama and coming-of-age catharsis, it’s actually based on a real-life crime. Yep, a teenager actually managed to become one of Germany’s biggest online drug dealers. How exactly? Well, let me explain.
The Real Story:
The main character in How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) goes by Moritz, but the guy he’s based on is actually named Maximilian S. In 2013, when he was just 18 years old, Max created an online shop called Shiny Flakes to sell drugs from his childhood bedroom. Thanks to his tech-savviness and knack for understanding customer habits, he developed a super-successful business—like, as in making millions of euros worth of Bitcoin successful. And unlike the show, Max didn’t have a friend to help him—he did it all on his own. He disguised the revenue as profit from a web-design business, but eventually the police caught on to him.
How He Got Caught:
Although Max kept his website hidden within the dark web, he made a couple of IRL mistakes that ended up getting him arrested. He didn’t use the correct postage on one of his packages, so instead of getting returned to the sender, the package sat at a mailing center until it was opened (and the drugs inside were discovered). There were similar cases around the Leipzig area—another mistake Max made was using the same mailing stations—so police started analyzing data from several mailing centers and kept the stations under surveillance. Eventually, they discovered it was Max who was sending these packages.
The authorities started buying drugs from his website as a test, and they also intercepted 40 kilos of drugs via mail. Finally, they staked out Max’s house and waited for a sale to go down. Once they witnessed an exchange of drugs, the police confronted Max. He ran into his house and tried to destroy his hard drives, but he wasn’t quick enough. The police arrested him and seized a whopping 320 kilos of drugs worth 4.1 million euros.
His Involvement With the Show:
Max was tried as a minor, so he only got seven years in prison for his crimes. He’s been serving out his sentence since 2015, but he isn’t your average jailbird. Max is allowed to leave the prison during the day, and after he heard his story was being turned into a Netflix show, he literally just showed up at the production set.
“We thought he was making it up, but it was him,” show creator Matthias Murmann told MSN. “It was interesting to get his mind-set.”
Matthias says Max even showed the crew how he arranged MDMA in boxes. Well…at least he’s helpful!