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Federal Authorities Set To Reveal Significant Cryptocurrency Seizure Following Investigation Into Columbus Drug Ring

Federal Authorities Set To Reveal Significant Cryptocurrency Seizure Following Investigation Into Columbus Drug Ring

A high-profile individual facing charges for international drug trafficking is set to make an appearance in federal court in Columbus on Friday. It is anticipated that during the hearing, the individual will confess to the alleged crimes and agree to relinquish a significant amount of cryptocurrency, marking the largest seizure of its kind by U.S. law enforcement.

Banmeet Singh, 40, is set to surrender accounts worth over $327 million as part of a plea agreement, as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Cryptocurrency prices experience frequent fluctuations on a daily basis.

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced that the cryptocurrency, valued at $150 million, was seized, marking a significant milestone in DEA history.

Singh, an Indian national residing in the United Kingdom until his arrest in 2019, will also accept a mutually recommended eight-year prison sentence when he appears before U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley on Friday morning.

Singh allegedly utilized the dark web and cryptocurrency to orchestrate and manage a global drug trafficking enterprise, operating in various locations across the United States including Columbus, Maryland, New York, Florida, North Dakota, and more.

The indictment reveals that the drug trafficking rings were involved in the sale of various narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, LSD, Ketamine, MDMA, Xanax, and more. Customers would send cryptocurrency, typically Bitcoin, to Singh from dark web accounts to vendor accounts established by Singh, according to the indictment.

Singh would subsequently send or coordinate the transportation of the drugs from Europe to the United States, where a network of “reshippers” would receive the drugs by mail. These reshippers would then repackage the drugs and forward them to various destinations as instructed by Singh. These destinations included Jamaica, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Scotland, England, and Ireland, as stated in court records.

In 2017, prior to his indictment, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration confiscated 59 kilograms of ecstasy, also referred to as MDMA or Molly, and 19 kilograms of ketamine from a suspected distribution cell associated with Singh.

Singh faced serious charges in 2018, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to import controlled substances, and money laundering conspiracy.

Singh was designated as a priority target for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force by the U.S. Attorney General in 2019.

Singh’s arrival in the United States was delayed until March 2023 due to his prolonged legal battle against extradition to the Columbus area, which he ultimately withdrew in early 2023.

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