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Web Drug Dealers Targeted

Inquiry: Sellers of 'date rape' pill are focus of nationwide crackdown.

September 19, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In a clampdown on Internet drug dealers, federal, state and local authorities said Wednesday they have made arrests and conducted searches in dozens of U.S. cities where traffickers have used computers to sell the "date rape" drug GHB.

Investigators conducted more than 150 searches and made a number of arrests in a law enforcement sweep in more than 70 U.S. cities, marking the first probe of its kind involving the Internet and GHB, a federal law enforcement official said.

The official, who requested anonymity, said about 25 dealers were considered primary targets in the investigation, which began two years ago.

The traffickers operated Web sites where customers could log on and put in their orders for GHB and similar drugs, which would then be mailed to them.

Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and Drug Enforcement Administration Director Asa Hutchinson planned to detail the operation at a news conference today.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Customs Service and the FBI also participated in the investigation.

GHB is a mix of common industrial chemicals that Congress outlawed several years ago. The drug and its derivatives act as central nervous system depressants and cause drowsiness, dizziness and loss of inhibition.

Education efforts have been aimed at warning women about sexual predators who could spike their drinks with the drug.

The DEA has documented 72 deaths from GHB and its derivatives.

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