Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord review – making millions from your bedroom A tech geek teenager turns into a true drug lord, from his bedroom.

August 3, 2021
Romey Norton 1
Film Reviews, Netflix


“People who are good with Tech say that they could have done the same thing… You either do or you don’t” – Maximilian Schmidt.



“People who are good with Tech say that they could have done the same thing… You either do or you don’t” – Maximilian Schmidt.

Netflix documentary Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord was released on the streaming service on August 3, 2021.

Netflix is known for its catalog of curious documentaries, and here is its latest one: Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord. This documentary is based on the life of Maximillian Schmidt, who ran an international drug empire at the age of 19. Maximilian’s story was the inspiration behind the Netflix series How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast). This is one of the largest cybercrime cases known in Germany and to this date, they do not know where most of the money is. Maximilian Schmidt, known online as Shiny Flakes, was arrested for selling approx. 4.1 million euros worth of drugs, over 14 months, from his bedroom.  

This documentary tells the story of how Max started and built this drug empire. Running his business from his childhood bedroom Max jokes that it is bigger than a prison cell. One thing that stands out for me in this documentary is that there is a pride that comes from him. No shame, no regret, very open, honest, and fairly positive about what and how he became a drug lord. Max, himself, is not a user. As a person, he comes across as intelligent, inquisitive, endearing. Nothing like I’ve seen before in a documentary of this serious nature. Think of Ted Bundy, but in the drug world. He even puts little gummy bear sweets in his packages — for excellent customer service.

A psychiatrist expert on the documentary states that Max doesn’t have certain scruples, he is arrogant, and that’s what makes him dangerous and why he was able to pull this off. The expert also says that because Max doesn’t talk about his family, friends, or any close relatives, he is ashamed of what he has done. I’m not an expert, but what I get from this documentary is that Max gets a high from all of this. A high in discussing how he so casually fell into this and how his curiosity around technology led him into building an empire. Max talks about how he would hack accounts and post images on their eBay accounts, or watch them through their webcams, and that’s how it all develops. Getting away with something, you need to make the stakes higher. Chasing that high. 

How was he caught? He admits he got in over his head. The rhythm of his process was broken and a backlog happened. Sleeping three or four hours to catch up on packaging, with 15,000 orders per day for one person, he was on a decline. Yet, he still blames his contacts.

In the documentary where they are reenacting where Max was caught and captured, and they shout “cut”, they break the fourth wall, and Max talks about how this scene is a bad memory but he can laugh at it now. I really enjoyed this aspect, I would have enjoyed more of this throughout the documentary. 

Until the very end, the cops believed it to be more than one person and that he would be heavily armed. The shock and disbelief when they caught him makes this story extraordinary. He was sentenced to seven years, sentenced as a child, and ordered to pay 3 million Euros from the profits of his business. He won’t admit if he has any of the money, saying that he only got experience and lost time from the business. Out on probation, in March 2021 he is under investigation again for similar crimes. Innocence is presumed until trial. So keep your eyes out for future details.

I highly recommend it if you enjoyed documentaries like Drug Lords and the recent one I reviewed, Heist. At over just an hour and a half, you’ll get a glimpse into the life of a young man who once was a teenage drug lord. 

What did you think of Netflix documentary Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord? Comment below.

1 thought on “Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord review – making millions from your bedroom

  • August 6, 2021 at 2:11 am

    Found it fascinating, and a bit sad that ultimately it was his arrogance that caused all to unravel. That and greed–assuming it was a factor as I suspect it was a bit like a gambling addict where the game is all that matters. Certainly strikes me as another talented sociopath–maybe his next career will be in hedge funds or the like.

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