The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has sentenced Gal Vallerius to 20 years in prison for narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges.
Vallerius, a 36-year-old French national, was periodically serving as a senior moderator and administrator of Dream Market.
On the darknet marketplace, Vallerius went by the nickname “OxyMonster.”
He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute illegal substances and conspiracy to money laundering.
Vallerius made a guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Scola Jr. earlier this year.
On top of his 240-month sentence, he was ordered to forfeit around 100 Bitcoin and 122 units of Bitcoin Cash.
The final sentencing of 20 years was handed to him in court last week.
Role as Dream Market Moderator ‘OxyMonster’
Dream Market began its operations around November 2013 on the dark web.
The underground site facilitated the promotion and sale of illicit items anonymously. The site grew to become one of the largest underground online markets.
Users paid for products and services on Dream Market using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are the main forms of payment on dark web markets.
Members of the South Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) carried out the investigation and prosecution against Vallerius.
His participation in illegal activities started when he became a vendor on Dream Market. As a vendor, OxyMonster dealt with the sale of Ritalin and Oxycodone.
Dream Market employed Vallerius as a senior moderator and administrator shortly after he began his ventures.
According to the court, these roles allowed Vallerius to support illicit transactions between users of the dark web site.
These daily transactions included narcotics trafficking, processing illicit proceeds, and laundering money using cryptocurrencies and tumblers.
Arrest in 2017
Vallerius was arrested last August when he was traveling with his wife from France to Texas.
He was planning to take part in the 2017 World Beard and Moustache Championships held in Austin.
En route, he was detained upon arrival in Atlanta, Georgia for questioning and subsequently arrested by U.S. law enforcement authorities.
Vallerius still had his trademark long beard at the time of his sentencing this month.
According to a DEA affidavit, Vallerius’ laptop contained evidence that was crucial in the case.
This included the Tor browser, his Dream Market login credentials and Bitcoin worth $500,000.
Under Vallerius’ plea deal [PDF], he had agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and the DEA with the aim of reducing his ultimate sentence.
Following his arrest, he faced up to life in prison on an indictment in Miami, Florida.
The 20-year prison sentence is half the maximum jail time amount Judge Scola could have handed Vallerius.
He is the second darknet market administrator to plead guilty to charges in the U.S. this month, after former Silk Road administrator Gary Davis pleaded guilty to drug charges on October 5.