Drugs, porn, and counterfeits: the market for illegal goods is booming online

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In the beginning of February a remorseful Paul Leslie Howard, 32, stood in front of a judge in Melbourne and pleaded guilty to charges of selling meth, LSD, amphetamines, and pot, as well as importing distribution-level quantities of MDMA and cocaine.

Howard, a heavyset man who worked the door at night clubs, seemed genuinely remorseful. He was not a career drug dealer. He and his wife were having money problems when he read an article about Silk Road, a secret online black market where thousands of drugs are for sale. He registered for an account a year ago. Thanks to the site, he’d been living like a kingpin for about six months.

“He wanted to be the big man around town and for awhile he got that, because he supplied the best party…

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