Drug dealers moving to Craigslist to expand market

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 15 at 9:33 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Drug dealers are moving off street corners and onto Craigslist. First there were the prostitution ads, then a wave of job opening scams on craigslist.

Now, a new trend advertising illegal drug sales on the popular web site has been gaining steam.

This weekend the trend was exposed when an undercover sting in New York busted 21 for selling drugs on Craigslist.

It’s not a problem just on the East Coast- parents in St. Louis need to know it’s here too.

In a test to see what kind of availability the drugs had in the St. Louis community, we typed in the commonly abused drug Xanax and found two ads. It’s no surprise to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

 “This is just one other marketing tool that organizations use to try to penetrate into an area,” said DEA Special Agent James Shroba. “It’s all about profit, and if they can exploit greed and if they can use Craigslist to establish a new market, that’s the endgame for them.” Schroba is the agent in charge of the St. Louis area.

With the transactions being out in the open, many wonder how the sellers get away with it. It’s almost like setting up at a flea market or farmers market or a garage sale and selling pills out in the open. But according to narcotics officers, it’s not that simple.

“There’s no boundaries for craigslist St. Louis,” Schroba said. “You could have someone in Louisville, Kentucky or San Francisco, California placing an ad on Craigslist here.”

So far in St. Louis only prescription medicine has been listed. Most ads are trying to sell meds like oxycontin, morphine and vicodin. These drugs are harder to detect when shipped and part of the explosion in prescription drug abuse.

The DEA is going after those behind the ads.

“We exploit the information that we find there to track back to these particular individuals and we work up our cases and we try to bring organizations that are behind these to justice,” said Schroba

Police say most of the drugs for sale were legally prescribed and later stolen from medicine cabinets.

 

 

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