Indian National Admits Guilt in Dark Web Drug Trafficking Operation, Faces $150 Million Forfeiture

Indian National Pleads Guilty to Dark Web Drug Trafficking and Agrees to Forfeit $150 Million

In a significant legal development, Banmeet Singh, a 40-year-old Indian national from Haldwani, pleaded guilty to charges related to selling controlled substances on various dark web marketplaces.

As part of the plea agreement, Singh has consented to forfeit a staggering $150 million in cryptocurrency.

Dark Web Marketplaces and Controlled Substances Trade

Court documents revealed that Singh created vendor marketing sites on notorious dark web platforms such as Silk Road, Alpha Bay, Hansa, and others.

The substances involved in the illicit trade included fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, Ketamine, and Tramadol.

Customers executed transactions using cryptocurrency to purchase controlled substances from Singh.

International Drug Shipment Scheme

Singh personally handled or arranged the shipment of controlled substances from Europe to the United States via U.S. mail or other shipping services.

The drug orders, often using the vendor name ‘Liston’ and the signature phrase ‘I’m still dancing,’ involved Singh operating at least eight distribution cells within the United States.

Global Drug Enterprise and Cryptocurrency Laundering

Over the conspiracy’s course from mid-2012 through July 2017, Singh’s drug organization moved hundreds of kilograms of controlled substances throughout the United States, establishing a multimillion-dollar drug enterprise.

The illicit proceeds were laundered into cryptocurrency accounts, accumulating to approximately $150 million.

Legal Proceedings and Extradition

Singh was arrested in London in April 2019, leading to his extradition to the United States in 2023.

The guilty plea comes as a result of coordinated efforts by law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, IRS:CI, HSI, USPIS, and local police departments in Ohio.

Law Enforcement Statements

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri emphasized the Justice Department’s commitment to holding criminals accountable, even on the dark web. U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker and Administrator Anne Milgram of the DEA praised the collaborative efforts that dismantled Singh’s global dark web enterprise.

Guilty Plea and Sentencing

Banmeet Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

He faces an agreed-upon sentence of eight years in prison. A sentencing date is yet to be set, with a federal district court judge determining the final sentence based on sentencing guidelines and statutory factors.

International Cooperation in Investigation

The case involved extensive collaboration with international partners, including the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and U.K. Central Authority (UKCA).

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs played a crucial role in securing Singh’s arrest and extradition.

Prosecution Team and Investigating Agencies

The prosecution team comprises Trial Attorney Emily Cohen of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Hunter for the Southern District of Ohio.

Investigating agencies include the DEA, IRS:CI, HSI, USPIS, and local police departments in Upper Arlington and Columbus, Ohio.

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