ED Arrests Man, Seizes Bitcoins Worth Rs 130 Cr in International Money Laundering Probe

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has made a significant breakthrough in a drugs trafficking-linked money laundering probe, seizing cryptocurrency worth more than Rs 130 crore and arresting a man from Uttarakhand, India. The investigation was initiated at the request of US authorities, highlighting the international nature of the case.

Arrest and Seizure of Bitcoins Worth Rs 130 Cr

On April 27, Parvinder Singh was taken into custody from Haldwani in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The ED conducted a search of his premises, leading to the discovery and seizure of cryptocurrency with a value of Rs 130.48 crore. The accused, Parvinder Singh, agreed to surrender the proceeds earned through the sale of illegal drugs on the dark web. The majority of these sales were made in European countries.

The Singh DTO

According to the ED, Parvinder Singh and his brother Banmeet Singh, along with others, were operating an international drug trafficking group known as the “Singh DTO” (Drug Trafficking Organisation). The DTO utilized vendor marketing sites on the dark web, as well as numerous free advertisements on the clear web, to sell drugs in the US, the UK, and other European countries. The Singh Organisation received drug trafficking proceeds through the sale on dark web markets and then laundered those proceeds through cryptocurrency transactions.

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International Collaboration

The investigation was initiated based on a mutual legal assistance request received from US authorities. The ED invoked section 2(ra) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which deals with offenses of cross-border implications. The schedule offenses correspond to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. This collaboration between Indian and US authorities highlights the importance of international cooperation in combating transnational crimes such as drug trafficking and money laundering.

The Dark Web and Cryptocurrency

The dark web has become a hub for illegal activities, including the sale of drugs and other illicit goods. Criminals often use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to facilitate these transactions due to their perceived anonymity. However, law enforcement agencies are increasingly adapting to these new challenges and developing strategies to trace and seize cryptocurrency assets involved in illegal activities. In this case, the ED was able to trace and seize bitcoins associated with the “Liston” moniker used by the Singh DTO on dark web markets such as Silk Road 1, Alpha Bay, and Hansa. These bitcoins were identified as the proceeds of crime from the illegal sale of drugs in various countries. US authorities have already seized bitcoins valued at thousands of crores of rupees, further highlighting the global impact of this investigation.

Dark Web Drug Ring Busted: Rs 130 Crore in Bitcoin Seized

The arrest of Parvinder Singh and the seizure of bitcoins worth Rs 130 crore underscore the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combat drug trafficking and money laundering. This case serves as a reminder that criminals operating on the dark web will not be able to evade justice indefinitely. Through international collaboration and the use of advanced investigative techniques, authorities are making significant strides in dismantling criminal networks and seizing the proceeds of their illegal activities.

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