Feds Catch ‘Dark Web’ Drug Lord

A Frenchman visiting America to take part in the World Beard and Moustache Championship was arrested by US authorities for being a suspected drug dealer on the dark web.

As an anonymous operator, Gal Vallerius was infamously known as the lord of the “dark web” online bazaar, where drugs like fentanyl, meth, cocaine, oxycodone and LSD were bought and sold by customers using bitcoin, a virtual currency.

The 38-year-old Vallerius recently traveled to Austin, Texas from France to take part in the world beard-growing championship, which was a big mistake.

He was arrested by police on 31 August and was linked to “OxyMonster” his online persona. He used this persona previously to sell illegal drugs on the dark web, an illicit underground market.

The Tor browser was discovered on his laptop during a border search. Users take advantage of this browser’s ability to hide their real internet protocol addresses. They also discovered log-in info for an eBay-style marketplace called Dream Market, where illegal drugs and paraphernalia can be bought and sold. He also had $500,000 in bitcoin.

Undercover DEA agents previously bought LSD, crystal meth and hydrocodone from vendors on the Dream Market and got their shipments sent to Miami mailboxes by US mail.

During an investigation of the website, they uncovered a post by OxyMonster from 23 July 2016 entitled “Official Staff”, after that he instantly became a person of interest.

He had 60 previous sales on his profile at that time along with a number of 5 star buyer reviews. In his description, he stated that he would ship to “anywhere in Europe” from France.

Vallerius operated as a “moderator” and an “administrator” on Dream Market, which is a dark web site where buyers and sellers can make deals for illicit drugs in Europe and the US without having their real identities revealed. The underground website is more than a marketplace, it gives technical help, handles conflicts and write reviews of the vendors. Similar to eBay, Dream Market also takes a commission as a percentage of each transaction.

On the Dream Market website, there were over 94,000 listings at the end of August, which included illegal drugs like ecstasy, opioids and steroids.

Authorities in the US are already going after dark web marketplaces similar to Dream Market and earlier in the year a joint task force interrupted two huge underground online stores, Hansa and AlphaBay.

Photo Credit: “DEA” (CC BY 2.0) by brettneilson