The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said it is believed to be the “largest single cryptocurrency financial seizure in DEA history.”
The cryptocurrency was worth at least $150 million at seizure, officials said. According to the plea agreement, Singh is forfeiting more than 8,100 bitcoin.The price of bitcoin fluctuates, and the amount being forfeited was more than $340 million Friday at 2 p.m.
Singh is accused of using dark-web sites to sell heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, LSD, MDMA, Xanax and Tramadol to customers in cities across the United States between 2012 and 2017. Customers paid with bitcoin, MoneyGram, PayPal or cash, according to court records, and Singh would then arrange shipments of the drugs to the United States through mail carriers or package delivery services.
Singh was one of eight members of the ring convicted in the United States, DEA Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene, whose field office covers Ohio and Michigan, said at a news conference Friday.
He used dark-web marketplaces including Silk Road, Alpha Bay, Hansa and Dream Market, according to the plea agreement unsealed Thursday.
Singh, an Indian national living in England, was indicted in Ohio in 2018 and arrested the following year. He was not extradited to the United States until last year.
The plea agreement states that Singh would plead guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He is expected to be sentenced to eight years in prison, though a judge will ultimately have to approve the terms of the deal. No sentencing date has been set.
His attorneys, David Thomas and Paul D. Petruzzi, declined to comment.
Now shuttered, Silk Road was a notorious marketplace for illicit drugs. Earlier this month, judges sentenced a Maryland father and son — who sold drugs on Silk Road and similar marketplaces under the screen name XanaxMan — to prison on money laundering charges. They forfeited nearly 3,000 bitcoin. In another case tied to the marketplace, the Justice Department in 2022 announced it seized cryptocurrency stolen from Silk Road worth $3.36 billion.
Also in 2022, the Justice Department announced it seized bitcoin worth more than $3.6 billion that had been stolen from the Bitfinex exchange. A married couple from New York later pleaded guilty to money laundering in the case.
Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.