US: Indian National From Haldwani Guilty of Dark Web Drug Scheme, Forfeits $150M Worth of Crypto


Last Updated: January 29, 2024, 15:30 IST

Washington D.C., United States of America (USA)

Indian national Banmeet Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering. (Representational image)

Indian national Banmeet Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering. (Representational image)

Indian national extradited from the UK pleads guilty to operating a global dark web drug enterprise, forfeiting $150 million in cryptocurrency

An Indian national extradited from the UK has pleaded guilty to operating a global dark web enterprise to sell “deadly and dangerous drugs to communities across America.”

Banmeet Singh, 40, who hails from Haldwani in Uttarakhand, agreed to forfeit approximately USD 150 million in cryptocurrency, according to court documents. Singh created vendor marketing sites on dark web marketplaces to sell controlled substances, including fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, Ketamine, and Tramadol, the US Department of Justice said in a press release on January 26.

Customers ordered controlled substances from Singh using the vendor sites and by paying with cryptocurrency. Singh then personally shipped or arranged the shipment of the drugs from Europe to America through US mail or other shipping services. “Banmeet Singh and traffickers like him think they can operate anonymously on the dark web and evade prosecution…Today’s guilty plea, which includes forfeiture of approximately USD 150 million in cryptocurrency, demonstrates that the Justice Department will hold criminals who violate US law accountable no matter how they conceal their activity,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M Argentieri of the justice department’s Criminal Division said.

From mid-2012 through July 2017, Singh controlled at least eight distribution cells within the US, including cells located in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and Washington, among other locations. Individuals in those distribution cells received drug shipments from overseas and then re-packaged and re-shipped the drugs to locations in US, Canada, England, Ireland, Jamaica, Scotland, and the US Virgin Islands, the release said.

Banmeet Singh operated a global dark web enterprise to send fentanyl and other deadly and dangerous drugs to communities across America in all 50 states as well as Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean, said Administrator Anne Milgram of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Throughout the conspiracy, Singh moved hundreds of kilograms of controlled substances throughout the US and established a multimillion-dollar drug enterprise that laundered millions of dollars of drug proceeds into cryptocurrency accounts, which ultimately became worth approximately USD 150 million. In April 2019, Singh was arrested in London, and the US secured his extradition in 2023.

Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess 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 has not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Leave a Comment