Alleged Dream Market Kingpin Arrested at World Beard and Mustache Championships
A 38-year-old Frenchman suspected of selling drugs via the dark web has been arrested at Atlanta international airport after arriving in the United States to attend the World Beard and Moustache Championships, according to a recently released court document. Gal Vallerius AKA ‘Magnificent Redbeard’, is accused of working as an administrator and vendor on Dream Market – an anonymous free market facilitating the sale of narcotics via the deep web.
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A French Beard Enthusiast Has Been Arrested for Involvement With the Dream Market Anonymous Free Marketplace
Gal Vallerius was arrested by United States authorities at Atlanta international airport on August 31. U.S agents suspected that the 38-year-old was working as an administrator for Dream Market – an anonymous free market operating via the dark web – in addition to distributing controlled substances Oxycontin and Ritalin through the platform.
It has been reported that analysis of Vallerius’ laptop has confirmed that Vallerius was operating under the pseudonym of “OxyMonster” as “an Administrator, Senior Moderator, and Vendor on Dream Market.” Law enforcement also discovered approximately $500,000 USD worth of bitcoin on the laptop. Vallerius has been transferred to Miami where he faces charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, following an initial hearing at a Georgia federal court. Vallerius’ arrest is part of a major multi-agency investigation into Dream Market first initiated in February 2016. The investigations saw officials target numerous online narcotics vendors through conducting undercover purchases.
A DEA affidavit has described Dream Market as a website “specifically designed to facilitate illegal commerce by working to ensure the anonymity of its administrators, as well as the buyers and sellers who participate in commerce on the website.” The release states that “OxyMonster knowingly participated in the Dream Market conspiracy not only as a vendor, but also in a leadership and organizational role as a senior moderator and administrator.” The investigations have involved collaboration between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The Arrest Was Made Possible by a Multi-Agency Investigation Into Dream Market
Vallerius was arrested whilst returning home from the World Beard and Moustache Championships, where he was expected to compete in the “full bear 30.1-45cm” category. “I don’t know anything about what other stuff he did, but as far as his beard goes, it’s really awesome, long and bright red,” states MJ Johnson, a winner at this year’s World Beard and Moustache Championship. Johnson had first met Vallerius at the 2015 championships in Austria, and described Vallerius as a “fun, carefree person.”
U.S. agents ascertained OxyMonster’s true identity by “conduct[ing] analysis of the incoming and outgoing transactions from [one of OxyMonster’s] bitcoin address[es] and learned that 15 out of 17 outgoing transactions… went to multiple wallets controlled by French national” Gal Vallerius. The agents then compared the prosaic tendencies of OxyMonster to the prose published on the social media accounts of Vallerius. The affidavit states that “agents discovered many similarities in the use of words and punctuation, including: the word ‘cheers,’ double exclamation marks, frequent use of quotation marks, and intermittent French posts.” Vallerius did not dispute his identity and detention during the initial court hearing in Atlanta.
Do you think that U.S. authorities will be able to make a significant impact on anonymous free markets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Instagram/Vallerius
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