The head of a multi-million-dollar drug enterprise has pleaded guilty to supplying hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs on a global scale.
Banmeet Singh, 40, of Haldwani, India, sold the drugs on dark web marketplaces, before personally shipping or arranging their shipment from Europe to destinations across the world.
The investigation into Singh was led by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and supported by UK partners including the National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service and UK Central Authority. It resulted in the largest single cryptocurrency and cash seizure in DEA history, worth around $150m.
In 2017, the DEA requested support from the NCA after they identified several distribution cells supplied by Singh’s organised crime group (OCG). Individuals in those cells received drug shipments sent by Singh directly, before repackaging and reshipping them to locations in all 50 US states, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the UK.
In November 2018, the US Attorney General designated Singh as a Consolidated Priority Organisational Target (CPOT) – a leader of one of the most prolific drug trafficking and money laundering organisations in the United States.
Working alongside other UK partners, and following a period of surveillance and investigation in the country, NCA officers determined that he resided in Coventry, and had set up a number of pharmaceutical businesses in the UK. He lived a moderate lifestyle, showing no signs of extreme wealth, and spent part of the year living in India.
He was arrested by NCA officers at his home address on Sunbeam Way on 26 April 2019. Searches of the property uncovered cold storage wallets and recovery seeds for cryptocurrency accounts, which later proved crucial to the investigation.
Singh was extradited to the US on 19 March 2023, having initially fought the request by filing an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.
As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to turn over the proceeds of his illegal activity, estimated to be worth approximately $150m.
Singh is the eighth member of the OCG to have been convicted of drug trafficking charges in the United States.
Rick Mackenzie, Operations Manager at the NCA said: “Singh’s conviction is the culmination of several years of close cooperation between the NCA and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
“In addition to securing his arrest and extradition, NCA officers gathered vital evidence showing the extent of Singh’s offending and the lengths he went to in order to conceal the profits he made.
“His guilty plea today is thanks to dedicated work by all partners involved in this case, underscoring the importance of international cooperation to disrupt and bring to justice all those involved in the global supply of drugs.”
26 January 2024