Silk Road drug lord forfeits $150m in DEA’s largest ever crypto seizure

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A Silk Road drug lord who was extradited from the U.K. admits to operating an illicit drug network and surrenders $150 million in crypto. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Banmeet Singh, a 40-year-old individual from Haldwani, India, has pleaded guilty to operating an illegal drug distribution network. He utilized various dark web platforms, including notable ones like Silk Road, Alpha Bay, and Hansa, for selling an array of controlled substances. 

Singh’s operation involved customers placing orders through his online storefronts and paying in cryptocurrencies. He then facilitated the shipment of these drugs, primarily from European sources, into the U.S. via postal services or other delivery methods.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri highlighted how individuals like Singh mistakenly believe they can conceal their illegal activities within the dark web’s anonymity. Singh’s conviction is a testament to the efforts of law enforcement in penetrating these hidden sectors of the internet. The plea agreement includes a forfeiture of around $150 million in cryptocurrency assets. It was revealed that Singh’s drug transactions often used the pseudonym Liston.

Singh’s illegal enterprise, active from mid-2012 to July 2017, included at least eight distribution networks within the United States. These networks were spread across various states, including Florida, Maryland, New York, and Washington. Singh’s distribution cells were responsible for receiving drug shipments from abroad, repackaging them, and then redistributing them across all 50 states, as well as to international destinations like the U.K. and Canada. 

Throughout the duration of this conspiracy, the Singh-led organization trafficked hundreds of kilograms of controlled substances across the United States. This large-scale operation generated millions of dollars, which were subsequently laundered into cryptocurrency accounts, forming a substantial illicit drug empire.

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