SLUG: 2-299994 US / Drug Crackdown
TITLE=U-S DRUG CRACKDOWN (L ONLY)
INTRO: U-S law enforcement officials announced a nationwide crackdown on sales of drug paraphernalia over the Internet Monday. National correspondent Jim Malone has details.
TEXT: The Justice Department announced that 55 people have been charged with trafficking in illegal drug paraphernalia. A total of 45 businesses --from Pennsylvania to California -- have had their inventories seized.
Under U-S law, it is a crime to sell products that are mainly intended for the use of illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine. These include items like marijuana bongs (water pipes) and pipes and miniature spoons and scales for cocaine.
U-S Attorney General John Ashcroft says Monday's crackdown targets what he calls the "explosion" of drug paraphernalia businesses accessible on the Internet:
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It is troubling enough for parents to realize that stores with these illegal products may be operating in their neighborhoods. But it is even more frightening when parents understand that with a click of a (computer) mouse, a child's room or college dorm (dormitory) could become a showroom in which drug paraphernalia merchants can advertise, market and sell illegal products.
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Mr. Ashcroft says customers who want to visit some of their favorite drug paraphernalia websites are in for a big surprise in the days ahead. They will be automatically redirected to the website for the U-S Drug Enforcement Administration. (Signed)
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