US Seizes R$1.6 Billion in Bitcoin from Drug Dealer

In a note published on Friday (26), the US Department of Justice stated that Banmeet Singh, 40, pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charges he was facing. Further note that the criminal agreed to give up $150 million (R735 million) worth of cryptocurrencies.

Perhaps due to the fluctuation of Bitcoin, the amount could be much higher. According to information from The Washington Post, Singh handed over 8,100 bitcoins to the authorities. Although the amount was estimated at US$150 million on the date of his arrest, today these bitcoins are worth US$340 million (US$1.6 billion) in direct conversion.

The news is important for the market because these bitcoins will likely be auctioned in the US soon, which could have a greater or lesser impact on the price of Bitcoin depending on when they are sold.

For example, this week the US reported the sale of R$639 million worth of bitcoins in connection with the Silk Road case. In March 2023, the US government sold R$1 billion worth of bitcoins related to the James Zhong case.

US arrests drug trafficker who used cryptocurrencies

The convict is Banmeet Singh, a 40-year-old Indian who led a major drug trafficking scheme between 2012 and 2017. According to the Justice Department, Singh had at least eight distribution cells in several US states, including Florida, New York and Washington.

The drugs, including LSD, ecstasy, Xanax, Ketamine and fentanyl, then left for other US states, as well as countries such as Canada, England and Ireland. The Indian behind the plan took advantage of famous illegal markets such as Silk Road, Alpha Bay and others.

However, Singh’s operation was dismantled in April 2019, when the Indian was arrested in London, England. In 2023, Singh was extradited to the US, where he was tried for drug trafficking along with seven other defendants.

In a video, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker notes that Singh signed drug warrants with the phrase “I still dance,” but the song stopped playing in 2019.

“He hasn’t danced in a while.”

This was the DEA’s largest seizure of cryptocurrencies, the government says

The U.S. government operation received support from several agencies, including the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s Cyber ​​Investigations Division (IRS-CI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSI). British agencies such as the NCA, CPS and UKCA also took part in the investigations.

According to the Justice Department, this was the largest seizure of cryptocurrencies linked to drug trafficking, worth US$150 million ($735 million). However, the amount could reach R$1.6 billion due to the recent rise in the value of Bitcoin. According to The Washington Post, the exact amount seized is 8,100 bitcoins.

“Banmeet Singh and other traffickers believe they can operate anonymously on the dark web and escape prosecution”said Nicole M. Argentieri, Assistant Attorney General. “Today’s guilty plea, which includes the seizure of approximately $150 million in cryptocurrency, demonstrates that the Department of Justice will hold criminals who violate U.S. law accountable, no matter how they conceal their activities.”

“Together with our international partners, we will continue to track down criminals.”

Ultimately, we can expect the US to liquidate these bitcoins soon, just as it has done in other cases. According to data from Bitcoin Treasuries, the US government is one of the largest holders in the world today, with 215,000 bitcoins (R$44.4 billion) linked to these types of seizures.

The US government has 215 thousand bitcoins in its wallet, amounts are linked to seizures from various crimes.  Source: US government has 215,000 bitcoins in its wallet, amounts linked to seizures from various crimes.  Source:
The US government has 215,000 bitcoins in its wallet, amounts linked to seizures from various crimes. Source:

Source: Live Coins