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Dark web drug vendor pleads guilty after forfeiting $150 million in crypto

The single largest cryptocurrency and cash seizure in DEA’s history took down a multi-million dollar drug enterprise orchestrated by one man from India. He has pleaded guilty in the US District Court in Columbus.

Banmeet Singh, a 40-year-old man from Haldwani, India, admitted to charges including possessing, distributing controlled substances, and money laundering.

Singh pleaded guilty following his arrest in London in April 2019 and extradition to the United States in 2023.

He ran a dark web drug store that “moved hundreds of kilograms and tens of thousands of pills of controlled substances throughout the US and established a multi-million-dollar drug enterprise,” the US Attorney's office announced.

This case involves the single largest cryptocurrency and cash seizure in DEA history, reaching $150 million. The druglord forfeited his crypto accounts, which ultimately reached the record value.

Singh used multiple marketplaces on the dark web, such as Silk Road 1, Silk Road 2, Alpha Bay, Hansa, and others. Those were used to sell fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, Ketamine, and Tramadol.

“Customers ordered controlled substances from Singh using the vendor sites and by paying with cryptocurrency. Singh then personally shipped or arranged the shipment of controlled substances from Europe to the US through US mail or other shipping services,” the press release explains.

The multinational criminal empire ran from at least mid-2012 through to July 2017. Investigators found that Singh controlled at least eight distribution cells within the US, including ones in Columbus, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and Washington.

The distributors then repackaged and re-shipped drugs all over the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, and the US Virgin Islands.

Eight cartel members have already been convicted for drug trafficking.

“In the Singh organization’s drug orders, the members frequently used the vendor name ‘Liston’ and signed off with the signature phrase, ‘I’m still dancing.’ Today, with Banmeet Singh’s plea of guilty, the dance is over,” said US Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.

According to DEA Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene, Singh is one of the most significant drug trafficking threats in the world.

“He is responsible for shipping massive quantities of deadly drugs throughout the US, mostly purchased on the internet and sent through the mail. His criminal enterprise has caused untold suffering to perhaps tens of thousands of people throughout the country,” Greene said.

Earlier this month, a father and son were sentenced in Maryland for money laundering and selling drugs on the Silk Road, an illicit marketplace. They forfeited 3000 bitcoin, worth $125 million.

The US federal authorities also seized more than $3.3 billion worth of Bitcoin from the individual who hacked and stole Bitcoin from the Silk Road.

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