PITTSBURGH, PA (NEWS1130) – A new study says Canadians are among the top buyers and sellers of illegal drugs on an anonymous website that functions like a black market version of eBay.

The website, called Silk Road, uses a digital currency to protect online purchases and an anonymity software to conceal users’ identities online. Those features make it very difficult for law enforcement agents to locate the site’s servers or its participants.

Nicolas Christin, a cyber security professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says the website has total revenues estimated at $1.9 million per month.

Christin recently released a research paper on the illegal online pharmacy which, he says, is growing at an alarming pace. According to his research, which looked at the sales activity on Silk Road for eight months, Canada ranks fifth in a list of the top 12 most frequent shipping origins and destinations, accounting for about six per cent of both.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Safety says websites like Silk Road demonstrate the need for strong law and border enforcement and collaboration with international partners. However, an RCMP spokesman says the force does not monitor anonymous websites.

A spokeswoman for Canada Border Services Agency says that they visually screen all goods coming into the country to determine if they pose safety threats.