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eBay auction goes up in smoke

Three men attempted to auction 500 pounds of marijuana on eBay until company officials pulled the plug--almost a day after the sale began.

Three men attempted to auction 500 pounds of marijuana on eBay Tuesday night until company officials pulled the plug--almost a day after the sale began.

The sale began roughly 8:40 p.m. PT on Tuesday night and ceased sometime 21 hours later, according to a screenshot on AuctionWatch.com, which first reported the story.

A spokesman for eBay confirmed that the auction was live long before company officials were notified. They quickly shut the site down thereafter, according to eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove.

The three auctioneers, who appeared in a photograph next to numerous plastic bags filled with what looked like marijuana, claimed in a written description that the drugs were "Holland's Best." Seven people had made bids that had reached $10 million by the time the auction was closed, according to AuctionWatch.com.

"We immediately notified the authorities," Pursglove said. "I can tell you that we will cooperate with law enforcement and help them with prosecution."

This latest incident comes at a time when eBay is striving to take an aggressive approach to barring unlawful sales on its site.

Earlier this month, in separate incidents, eBay executives shut down auctions that claimed to be selling a human kidney and an unborn baby. Federal law prohibits the sale of human organs.

Though Pursglove declined to say what law enforcement agency eBay contacted, a spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Agency said officials there are planning to crack down on drug sales over the Web.

"This is something we would be very interested in," said Jocelyn Barnes, spokeswoman for the San Francisco DEA office. "We would start an investigation. We've heard of things like that coming up on these sites and have started to take a look on how to investigate. We do aggressively pursue those avenues."

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