The Dark Web’s Drug Kingpin Relinquishes $150 Million in Cryptocurrency


  • An Indian citizen named Banmeet Singh admitted to being responsible for operating a substantial dark web drug network.
  • This case led to the biggest seizure of cryptocurrency and cash in the history of the DEA, amounting to $150 million.
  • Singh’s enterprise utilized dark web platforms such as Silk Road and Alpha Bay to distribute substances such as fentanyl, LSD, and ecstasy.

Banmeet Singh, a 40-year-old Indian national, has confessed to running a vast narcotics operation that spanned continents and reverberated through the world of cybercrime. His admission follows the largest seizure of cryptocurrency and cash in the history of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), totaling an astounding $150 million in forfeited crypto assets. Singh’s involvement in this criminal enterprise, which heavily relied on the dark web and cryptocurrency, underscores the ongoing battle against digital-age drug trafficking. This case serves as a poignant reminder of the evolving tactics of criminal networks in adapting to the digital era.

A Network of International Narcotics Trafficking

Singh’s illicit empire thrived on his adept utilization of the dark web’s anonymity. He established vendor marketing sites on prominent marketplaces like Silk Road 1 and 2, Alpha Bay, Hansa, and others, offering a range of controlled substances globally, including fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, Ketamine, and Tramadol.

Operating like a well-oiled machine, Singh’s operation facilitated transactions using cryptocurrency, dispatching drugs from Europe to the U.S. via services like the U.S. mail. His meticulous oversight ensured operations remained clandestine, managing or coordinating shipments personally.

Between mid-2012 and July 2017, Singh orchestrated at least eight distribution cells across the U.S., primarily in states like Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and Washington. These cells received and repackaged drug shipments from abroad, distributing them nationwide and internationally to countries such as Canada, England, Ireland, Jamaica, Scotland, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A Crypto Drug Lord’s Downfall

Singh’s reign over his dark web empire came to an end with his arrest in London in April 2019. His extradition to the United States in 2023 marked a pivotal moment in the extensive investigation. As one of eight convicted members of the trafficking organization, Singh faced charges including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker and Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri emphasized the significance of Singh’s guilty plea, signaling the end of his notorious drug trade reign and sending a message to traffickers relying on digital anonymity to evade the law. Designated as a Consolidated Priority Target by the DEA, Singh’s crimes, particularly in distributing deadly drugs across the U.S., were underscored by DEA Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene, highlighting the immeasurable suffering caused.

This landmark case was a result of collaborative efforts involving various agencies, including the IRS’ Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and local law enforcement, as well as the support of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, and Central Authority. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Hunter and Trial Attorney Emily Cohen led the prosecution, contributing to a significant victory in law enforcement. As part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, this case exemplifies the multi-agency, intelligence-driven approach crucial in combating high-level drug traffickers and money launderers.

In the ever-evolving landscape of crime and technology, cases like Singh’s serve as a stark reminder of the relentless efforts required to pursue and prosecute individuals exploiting digital anonymity for illegal activities. With the surrender of $150 million in crypto assets, this case not only deals a significant financial blow to cybercrime but also represents a milestone in the ongoing fight against the dark web’s narcotics trade.

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