US busts online drugs ring Farmer's Market

Multi-coloured ecstasy pills. File photo The secret ring supplied drugs to clients in 35 countries around the world, the US said

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The US authorities say they have busted a secret internet drugs market, where people around the world could buy LSD, ecstasy and other illegal substances.

The ring - The Farmer's Market - is said to have operated through a computer network which allows users to communicate anonymously.

At least eight people have been held in the US, the Netherlands and Colombia.

They have been charged with drug trafficking and money laundering and will face trial in the US.

'Clear message'

The arrests were the culmination of the two-year Operation Adam Bomb, officials from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced late on Monday.

The sophisticated ring had tried to hide its activities "through the use of advanced anonymising online technology," said Briane Grey, the DEA's acting special agent in charge.

He added that the arrests "should send a clear message to organisations that are using technology to conduct criminal activity that the DEA and our law enforcement partners will track them down and bring them to justice".

The US authorities have identified Marc Willems, 42, as the "lead defendant", who is believed to have created and run the network. He has been arrested at his home in the Netherlands.

It is alleged that more than $1m (£630,000) worth of drugs sales were processed through the sophisticated ring which used the TOR computer network between 2007-09.

The Farmer's Market reportedly provided order forms, customer service and accepted payments through PayPal, Western Union and other means.

It had customers in every US state as well as in 34 countries around the world.

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