A highly active dark web drugs vendor has admitted guilt and consented to forfeit $150 million

By Sharique

A highly active dark web drugs vendor has admitted guilt and consented to forfeit $150 million, marking the largest single seizure ever conducted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Banmeet Singh, aged 40, hailing from Haldwani, India, was involved in the sale of controlled substances, including fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, ketamine, and tramadol, via vendor platforms on various dark web marketplaces.

He orchestrated the shipment of these substances from Europe to the US, exercising control over at least eight distribution centers in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and Washington.

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), from at least mid-2012 to July 2017, these centers received products, which were then repackaged for distribution across the US, as well as to the UK, Canada, Ireland, and the US Virgin Islands.

Singh is believed to have sold hundreds of kilograms of drugs through this operation, laundering millions of dollars in proceeds into cryptocurrency accounts.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) labeled it as “the largest single cryptocurrency and cash seizure in DEA history,” valued at approximately $150 million. The NCA was brought into the investigation in 2017, and the following year, Singh was designated by the US attorney general as a Consolidated Priority Organizational Target (CPOT), highlighting the gravity of his offenses.

Surveillance by the NCA revealed that Singh was residing in Coventry, where he purportedly established a pharmaceutical business and led a modest lifestyle, spending part of the year in India.

Singh was apprehended in April 2019, with searches conducted at his residence revealing cold storage wallets and recovery seeds for crucial cryptocurrency accounts.

His extradition to the US was postponed until 2023 after he lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.

Singh is now the eighth member of the narcotics ring to be convicted of drug trafficking charges in the US. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering, facing an additional eight years in prison.

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