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Indian pleads guilty in US to selling drugs on dark net, forfeits $150 million


A 40-year-old Indian nationwide from Haldwani, Uttarakhand, has pleaded guilty in an Ohio courtroom to expenses associated to working an intensive dark net drug trafficking community. Banmeet Singh, who ran a world drug distribution community, was extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom final yr.

Banmeet Singh, who offered managed substances on platforms like Silk Road, Alpha Bay and Hansa, has agreed to forfeit a staggering $150 million in cryptocurrency.

It is believed to be the “largest single cryptocurrency monetary seizure” in the history of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Banmeet Singh was extradited from the United Kingdom in March 2023 and pleaded guilty to money laundering and another charge on Friday at a federal courthouse in Columbus, Ohio, according to The Washington Post.

MODUS OPERANDI IN VENDING DRUGS ON DARK NET

Court documents said that Singh established vendor marketing sites on various dark web marketplaces, offering a range of controlled substances including fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, Ketamine, and Tramadol.

Clients made purchases using cryptocurrency, and Singh looked after the distribution by personally shipping or arranging the shipment of controlled substances from Europe to the United States through various shipping services.

“Today’s guilty plea, which includes forfeiture of approximately $150 million in cryptocurrency, shows that the Justice Department will hold criminals who violate the US law accountable no matter how they conceal their activity. Together with our international partners, we will continue to find criminals lurking in the darkness and bring their crimes to light,” said Nicole M Argentieri, the acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

From mid-2012 to July 2017, Singh controlled at least eight distribution cells across the US.

These cells were responsible for receiving drug shipments from overseas, repackaging them, and redistributing the drugs to locations in all 50 states, as well as Canada, England, Ireland, Jamaica, Scotland, and the US Virgin Islands, according to Kenneth L. Parker, Attorney of Ohio’s Southern District.

“Today, with Banmeet Singh’s plea of guilty, the dance is over,” he added.

“DEA is proud to have worked with its law enforcement partners in the United States and the United Kingdom to dismantle this enterprise, protect the American people, and bring Singh to justice,” said Anne Milgram, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official.

BANMEET SINGH WAS ARRESTED IN THE UK

Singh’s illegal activities came to an end in April 2019 when he was arrested in London. After extradition efforts, he was brought to the United States in 2023 to face charges.

After he was brought to the US, Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possession and distribution of controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The agreed-upon sentence is eight years in prison, with the sentencing date yet to be determined by a federal district court judge.

The case is being investigated by the DEA, IRS: CI, HSI, USPIS, and local police departments in Ohio, with assistance from the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and UK Central Authority (UKCA).

Published By:

Girish Kumar Anshul

Published On:

Jan 29, 2024



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