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  1. The Honorable Eric Holder                                                                
  2. Attorney General                                                                                
  3. U.S. Department of Justice                                                                
  4. 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                                          
  5. Washington, DC 20530-0001                                                            
  6.  
  7. Michele Leonhart, Administrator
  8. Drug Enforcement Administration
  9. U.S. Department of Justice
  10. 8701 Morrissette Drive
  11. Springfield, VA 22152
  12.  
  13. Dear Attorney General Holder and Administrator Leonhart:
  14.  
  15. We write to express our grave concern upon discovery of an online marketplace for illegal drugs, known as “Silk Road.”  Launched in February, this underground website allows users to hide their identities and freely purchase and sell illegal drugs, ranging from cocaine and heroin, to ecstasy and marijuana.
  16.  
  17. As you may know, Silk Road employs various layers of secrecy to ensure that the identities and activities of all users are obscured.  By utilizing the anonymizing network TOR, Silk Road ensures that users’ tracks on the site are hidden.  The only method of payment for these illegal purchases is an untraceable peer-to-peer currency known as Bitcoins.  After purchasing Bitcoins through an exchange, a user can create an account on Silk Road and start purchasing illegal drugs from individuals around the world and have them delivered to their homes within days.  After completing online purchases, users are instructed to disguise shipments and vacuum seal drugs that may be detected by odor.
  18.  
  19. The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act (21 U.S.C. § 841) defines the offense of operating an illegal website like Silk Road.  Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2), the Attorney General has the authority to shut down such entities involved in the delivery and distribution of controlled substances  by seizing the website domain name.  
  20.  
  21. The Drug Enforcement Administration has been and continues to be rigorous in enforcing our controlled substance laws and regulations.  As part of this critical mission, we urge you to take immediate action and shut down the Silk Road network.    
  22.  
  23. We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to working with you on this important issue.
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