BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 20 September, 2002, 02:29 GMT 03:29 UK
US crackdown on date-rape drug
Asa Hutchinson and John Ashcroft with bottle of GHB
Ashcroft (r): A "dose of harsh reality" for drug dealers
The authorities in the United States say they have dismantled four big networks selling illegal date-rape drugs over the internet across the whole of North America.


Law enforcement will pierce the cloak of secrecy surrounding e-drug traffickers and bring them to justice

Drug Enforcement Agency head
They said a sweep across 84 cities had ended in more than 100 arrests - and the seizure of enough chemicals to make 25 million doses of a drug frequently used by rapists to subdue their victims.

Customs and FBI officers joined local and federal police in co-ordinating the raids, the first of their kind.

Centres of operation
Festus, Missouri
Sparta, Tennessee
Quebec City, Canada
Detroit - San Diego
The main drug targeted was GHB, or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate - an odourless and colourless liquid often slipped into a woman's drink, causing loss of consciousness and usually leaving the victim with little or no memory of any sexual attack.

Attorney General John Ashcroft described the raids as "a dose of harsh reality for drug traffickers who seek to exploit the vast markets and anonymity of cyberspace".

"Law enforcement will pierce the cloak of secrecy surrounding e-drug traffickers and bring them to justice," said Drug Enforcement Administration Director Asa Hutchinson.

Fast spread

Operation Webslinger took place on Wednesday and Thursday, though the investigation began two years ago.

GHB facts
Used as an anaesthetic in World War I
Users may suffer sickness, stiff muscles, fits or comas
Concerns have grown that sex attackers use the drug to sedate victims
Dealers found customers via websites and personal email accounts, disguising their products as inkjet printing supplies and cleaning solutions.

News about the websites spread fast, especially among teenagers and young people.

GHB is also known as "liquid ecstasy" and is passed around at night clubs. It can be fatal when taken with alcohol.

However, it is also promoted as an alternative to alcohol, giving the same effect as several drinks but not showing up in a breathalyser test.

4x4 Reports: Dark side of the sun


AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

11 Jul 02 | England
10 Apr 02 | England
10 Dec 01 | UK
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes