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Spammer 'Rizler' Smith returns from exile

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Notorious spammer Christopher "Rizler" Smith is due in court on Wednesday following his arrest at Minneapolis St Paul International airport last Thursday. Prosecutors are calling for Smith to be held in contempt of court and jailed for six months over his flight from justice after a US judge brought the shutters down on his lucrative US spamming operation.

Smith was nabbed after stepping off a flight from the Dominican Republic, where he had been operating since May after a federal judge shut down his Minneapolis-based spam businesses, Burnsville Internet and Xpress Pharmacy Direct, and ordered him to stop marketing penis pills and other assorted tat. Smith allegedly sent more than one billion spam emails either to AOL email addresses or through AOL email accounts. The FBI claims Smith, 25, has made approximately $18m this year from his lucrative spam businesses.

On 10 May, federal authorities raided Xpress Pharmacy and Smith's home, seizing his passport and $4.2m in assets, including a $1.1m house and luxury vehicles worth $1.8m. At the same time the FBI closed down his 85-employee company. Smith was charged with selling prescription drugs without a license but four days after appearing in a federal court he fled to the Dominican Republic, allegedly using a false passport. His wife Anita, his Minnesota girlfriend and several others brought him thousands of dollars in cash. Court documents allege that by June, Smith had set up new websites under false names and was back selling drugs without prescriptions online and through a new call centre he had set up in the Dominican Republic. ®

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