Prohibition

Silk Road Drug Market Has Aussie Cops Flummoxed

Anonymous online dealing and rating system defies prohibitionists' efforts

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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.