EnlargeGal Vallerius

A Frenchman who was arrested in August 2017 after arriving in the United States to attend a beard competition in Austin, Texas has now admitted to being "OxyMonster," a well-known drug vendor on the Dream Market underground online marketplace.

Gal Vallerius pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money. He admitted while at first he was a vendor of Oxycodone and Ritalin, he later was hired by Dream Market to serve as an Administrator and Senior Moderator.

Investigators began honing in on Vallerius when they analyzed the "tip jar" that OxyMonster advertised on Dream Market. According to the criminal complaint, "15 of 17 outgoing transactions from the 'OxyMonster' tip jar went to multiple wallets controlled by French national Gal VALLERIUS on Localbitcoins.com."

With that, law enforcement was able to compare Vallerius writing style on his known Instagram and Twitter accounts to OxyMonster. "Agents discovered many similarities in the use of words and punctuation to including: the word 'cheers;' double exclamation marks; frequent use of quotation marks; and intermittent French posts," prosecutors continued.

Federal authorities also seized, as part of a forfeiture, Vallerius 99 bitcoins and 121 Bitcoin cash, worth a total of nearly $1 million at current exchange rates.

According to the Associated Press, both prosecutors and Vallerius attorneys recommended that the judge impose a 20-year sentence, but that he could reduce that pending his agreement to cooperate with investigators. He may serve some of his sentence in the United Kingdom, France, or Israel—he is apparently a citizen of all three nations.

During his Tuesday court appearance, Vallerius spoke little, but seemed to lament that he could not remain in the United States: "It is unfortunate … I cannot enjoy this beautiful country and everything it has to offer," he said.

Vallerius is scheduled to be sentenced by US District Judge Robert Scola in federal court in Miami on September 25.

Original Article

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Ars Technica

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