Silk Road Drug Market Has Aussie Cops Flummoxed

Anonymous online dealing and rating system defies prohibitionists' efforts


POLICE and customs officials are turning their attention to the online marketplace of illegal drugs, Silk Road, which is achieving an estimated $22 million a year in sales.

Silk Road—started by "Dread Pirate Roberts" in February last year—functions like a black market version of eBay, complete with vendor feedback, dispute resolution and sales promotions. Cocaine and ecstasy sell for a quarter of street prices in Australia while drugs such as cannabis and prescription medication are shipped worldwide.