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China arrests 77 in drug trafficking network

(Xinhua)

08:53, March 27, 2012

CHANGCHUN, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Police in northeast China have arrested 77 people in a crackdown on a large online drug trafficking network that operated across the country over the past two years.

The network mainly trafficked a prescription pain reliever called tramadol hydrochloride. More than 400 people in 18 provinces and cities across China were involved in the case originating in Tonghua county, Jilin province, local police reported Monday.

Police started the investigation in 2010 after finding that more than 30 young people in Tonghua, a county with a population of 50,000, were taking tramadol hydrochloride. Two suspects, both rural residents of Tonghua, were arrested in June 2010 for allegedly selling the prescription painkiller on the Internet.

Interrogations of the two suspects led police investigators to fan out across the country to nab the other members of the drug trafficking network. More than 1.2 million tablets of tramadol hydrochloride have been seized since the investigation started, Tonghua police said.

Details of the case were not immediately made public.

Tramadol, which carries risks of physical and psychological dependence and has abuse potential, is a state-controlled nervous system drug in China. The country's Criminal Law provides that illegal trading of controlled nervous system drugs can lead to a maximum of seven years in prison for severe violations.

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