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Can an online market for meth, smack and pot win?

ATLANTA — Senator Chuck Schumer called it "a certifiable one-stop shop" for meth, heroin and cocaine, "the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen."

That was in June 2011, just days after Gawker writer Adrian Chen outed the site, known as Silk Road.

Schumer's outrage was palpable. He commanded Attorney General Eric Holder to shut down the clandestine marketplace.

But in the nearly two years that have passed, that apparently hasn't happened.

The site mysteriously disappeared for two weeks in November 2012, and its proprietor, alias Dread Pirate Roberts, went incommunicado from online forums. That led some to speculate that law enforcement had shut it down.

But the opposite now appears to be true.

Due to an explosion in popularity, Silk Road's infrastructure had to be rebuilt to accommodate new customers and security, Dread Pirate Roberts said in a post following his return. And performance measures were added to better protect users.

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