Dark web kingpin visiting US for beard competition gets 20 years in prison

Dream Market Drug Vendor arrived in the US to participate in a beard competition in Texas.

A Dark Web drug dealer has received 240 months or 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the crimes of laundering money and possessing controlled substances with the intention of distributing them.

The convict, Gal Vallerius, is a French national who was arrested on August 31, 2013, from the Atlanta International Airport, United States. He arrived in the US to compete in a beard competition, the World Beard and Mustache Championships (WBMC) held in Austin, Texas. District Judge Robert N. Scola sentenced him.

Also known as OxyMonster, the 36-year old Vallerius was a Dark Web drugs kingpin, web administrator, senior moderator, and seller on Dream Market, stated a press release from the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

See: Ex-employee stole secrets of Israeli spyware firm for dark web deals

Dream Market was launched in Nov 2013 and went on to become the largest marketplaces on the Dark Web where illegal drug paraphernalia and narcotics were distributed. It started operating on the Tor network and served as a thriving platform for those who wanted to buy or sell illegal drugs anonymously. Transactions were made in either Bitcoin or other peer-to-peer cryptocurrencies.

OxyMonster started off as a small-time seller of OxyCodone and Ritalin and was later employed by the founders of the Dark Web marketplace as a web admin and senior moderator, which he remained from May 2015 and August 2017.

After arresting Vallerius, the US law enforcement authorities confiscated a laptop from him, which provided enough evidence against him. They were able to obtain login credentials for Dream Market. Also, they uncovered nearly $500,000 worth of bitcoins as well as a PGP encryption key bearing the title OxyMonster. That’s how they were able to verify his identity.

The many shades of Gal Vallerius aka OxyMonster

It is worth noting that he is the second admin from the Dark Web marketplace who has pleaded guilty in the US this month. Last week, ex-Silk Road site admin and forum moderator Gary Davis aka Libertas also pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking and is currently awaiting his sentencing.

See: Hacking tools & ready-made phishing pages being sold on dark web for $2

After pleading guilty, Judge Scola ordered Vallerius to forfeit 121 bitcoin cash units and around 100 bitcoins (equivalent to $700,000). He has received half of the max sentencing that he could have received and it may get reduced further if he keeps on cooperating with the US authorities.

The investigation and prosecution of OxyMonster were carried out jointly by the South Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Moreover, fourteen other law enforcement agencies from within and outside the US also participated in it.

It was just a few days ago when Silk Road’s admin, an Irish national Gary Davis, had pleaded guilty to charges related to drug trafficking. It is expected that he might face up to 20 years in prison as well.

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