'Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord' Tells True Story of Maximilian Schmidt
If you have binged Netflix’s German-language series How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast), you must have known the character of Moritz Zimmermann was partially based on a real drug dealer, Maximilian Schmidt.
The notorious dealer was a teenager who ran a drug empire from his bedroom. And if How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) wasn't enough to tell his story, Netflix released a full-fledged documentary film Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord, starring the teen drug lord himself.
The 1 hour and 37 minutes long film reveals how Schmidt, at age 18, built a drug empire he named Shiny Flakes from his childhood bedroom in 2013. Fun fact: his family was totally unaware of his business.
Schmidt, who courageously starred in the documentary film, said, "At the very beginning I was nervous about it," recalling his feelings about starting the drug business.
Early in the film, the mastermind also gave the audience a hint of his attitude towards his works by saying,
Lots of people who are good with tech will say, ‘Okay, with a bit of thought and effort, I could have maybe done the same thing’. But the difference is, either you do it or you don’t.
According to reports, the young man sold more than 900 kilograms (about 1,200 pounds) of hash, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and prescription drugs. He shipped those drugs by mail around the world, effectively using the mailmen as his unsuspecting couriers.
When he was asked how he received payments for all the orders, he revealed payments were made in advance, and he had no problems receiving the remaining money.
In the film, defense attorney Stefan Costabel also cited that he ran his own kind of Amazon for almost all drugs.
Director Eva Müller’s Experiences with Schmidt
Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord was directed by German director Eva Müller, who accompanied Schmidt for several years with her team to work on the project.
Müller interviewed Schmidt, his defense attorney, the prison director, the public prosecutor, and Schmidt's psychological expert, asking possibly every question the world wanted to know about the teen drug lord.
For the Netflix film, the team even rebuilt the replica of his childhood bedroom, furniture, and bed linens he used to have.
Speaking with DW in August 2021, Müller implied that she and her crew were aware of Schmidt's actions, as he was someone who didn't hesitate before committing a serious crime.
But despite the risk, she said it was a good experience to make the film and see the final product. "I think we have been successful in showing an online crime in an exciting, entertaining and enlightening manner," she added.
What Happened to Schmidt?
Around two years into the business, Schmidt was finally suspected and arrested for selling drugs. According to German media reports, several undelivered drug packages eventually led investigators to Schmidt.
He was arrested by police at age 20 in February 2015 from his family's apartment in Leipzig, seizing 320 kilograms of drugs worth several million euros.
He was sentenced to seven years in juvenile detention but eventually got released from prison in 2019.
After his release from prison, Schmidt is under investigation again for selling illegal narcotics. However, he is not doing the business alone this time, as pointed out by Petric Kleine, chief of the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Saxony, in the documentary.