French ‘OxyMonster’ jailed for 20 years

A general view of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr US Federal Courthouse as seen in Miami. US officials arrested Frenchman Gal Vallerius, known as the ‘OxyMonster’ when he travelled to the US for a beard convention. (AFP pic)

MIAMI: A French man who US prosecutors said brokered illegal drug deals and helped launder money on the dark web under the name “OxyMonster” was sentenced to 20 years in jail Tuesday.

Gal Vallerius, 36, was sentenced in Miami federal court after pleading guilty in late August to charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs and launder money.

In a plea deal, he also forfeited more than US$700,000 (RM2.9 million) worth of virtual currency.

Prosecutors said he was originally a vendor of controlled drugs Oxycodone and Ritalin on Dream Market, an online underground market where buyers and sellers of controlled goods could trade anonymously, settling their deals with bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

He then became an administrator of the market, which became a hub for trade in drugs such as LSD, heroin, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and other illegal drugs.

Vallerius, who sports a huge red beard, was arrested on August 31, 2017 after he landed in Atlanta, Georgia on his way to Texas to take part in the World Beard and Moustache Championships.

According to an indictment, a search of his laptop proved suspicions he was OxyMonster and at administrator of Dream Market.

The sentence was announced after Vallerius reached a plea deal.