Eighteen people were arrested yesterday in what federal authorities called the breakup of a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to distribute illegally pain killers and diet pills over the Internet, the Miami Herald reports. Defendants were accused of running 4,600 rogue pharmacy websites in which buyers could purchase controlled substances, including ”powerful narcotics,” without proper prescriptions, the Drug Enforcement Administration said. The network allegedly averaged more than $50,000 a day in profits.
The arrests culminated of Operation CYBERx, which focused on illicit drug sales over the Web. Another task force, Cyber Chase, arrested 20 in April in an investigation of international drug trafficking. DEA’s Virtual Enforcement Initiative is a Web-oriented investigation that the agency says targets “criminals in the drug trade [who] are embracing the use of technology to peddle their poisons .”