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Indian national sentenced in US$150M Canadian, U.S. dark web drug enterprise

FILE - The Justice Department in Washington, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
FILE - The Justice Department in Washington, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
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An Indian national has been sentenced in the United States to five years in prison in connection with a dark web drug enterprise that stretched as far as Canada, an American Department of Justice (DOJ) release says.

Banmeet Singh of the northern Indian city of Haldwani was arrested in the United Kingdom in April 2019 at the request of U.S. officials, and was extradited to the United States last year, the news release reads. This January, Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, as well as conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

According to the U.S. DOJ release, citing court documents and statements, Singh is described as having created multiple online retailing spaces for drugs including fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, ketamine and tramadol, paid for through cryptocurrencies supplied by customers and delivered by mail.

Singh's involvement in the enterprise is said to have lasted "from at least mid-2012 through July 2017," linked to eight distribution points within the United States. From there, the DOJ release says, shipments were repackaged and shipped across the country, as well as to Canada and other countries including Jamaica, Ireland, and even back to the United Kingdom.

"The Singh drug organization moved hundreds of kilograms of controlled substances throughout the United States and established a multimillion-dollar drug enterprise that laundered millions of dollars of drug proceeds into cryptocurrency accounts, which ultimately became worth approximately [US]$150 million," the release reads.

In addition to the five-year sentence, the DOJ notes that Singh has been ordered to forfeit approximately US$150 million.

The investigation preceding the case involved local and national law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Upper Arlington and Columbus, Ohio, police departments, and the United Kindgom's National Crime Agency.

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