Senators take aim at drug trade being conducted over Internet

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Two U.S. senators said Sunday they will ask federal authorities to crack down on a secretive narcotics market operated on the Internet with anonymous sales and untraceable currency.

Heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines are among the drugs being sold on the well-protected website which has apparently been operating for just a few months.

Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both Democrats, said they asked the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration to shut down and investigate the website, often referred to as the Silk Road after an ancient Asian trade route.

“Never before has a website so brazenly peddled illegal drugs online,” Schumer said. “By cracking down on the website immediately, we can help stop these drugs from flooding our streets.”

Schumer said the website began operating in February and uses “layers” of secrecy to thwart authorities. Sellers are told to make shipments in vacuum-sealed bags to avoid drug-detecting dogs.