“OxyMonster” Pleads Guilty to Drug and Money Laundering Charges
The French national known as “OxyMonster” on several darknet marketplaces pleaded guilty to drug distribution and money laundering charges in a federal court in the Southern District of Florida on June 12. The Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, John P. Cronan, announced the development alongside the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Benjamin Greenberg. The Special Agent in Charge at the Drug Enforcement Administration Field Office in Miami, Adolphus P. Wright, also made a statement regarding the Frenchman’s guilty plea.
Gal Vallerius, a former darknet market vendor and moderator on Dream and other darknet marketplaces, had initially planned for a jury trial; the charges carried a potential life sentence in the United States. Even though United States law enforcement—specifically the Drug Enforcement Administration—had investigated and arrested Vallerius, the man lived in France. He had taken a trip to the U.S. last August for a beard competition in Texas. Without his wife or other family members, life in prison in the United States was something the man wanted to avoid. Regardless of proximity to family, defendants often prefer to avoid life sentences.
In his plea agreement, Vallerius admitted to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute illegal substances and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The plea deal, recently drawn up by the prosecution and Vallerius’ defense attorney, eliminated the possibility of spending the remainder of his life in a United States federal prison. Vallerius admitted, through the plea agreement, that he had distributed heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, oxycodone, methamphetamine, and the prescription stimulant Ritalin.
The sentencing section of the deal pointed out that Vallerius—under the name OxyMonster and Vendeep—had conspired with five or more people in his drug distribution conspiracy. Vallerius worked as both a vendor and a moderator of several darknet markets. He claimed, in his profile on at least one darknet marketplace, that he had been holding an important position at Dream market while selling controlled substances on the other marketplace. At the time of his arrest, Vallerius had accounts on both the TradeRoute and Dream marketplace.
As part of his agreement, Vallerius will fully comply with authorities in darknet investigations of the same sort. The agreement mentioned testifying in court and posing undercover in law enforcement investigations related to Vallerius’ expertise. Vallerius just forfeit his Samsung laptop and cryptocurrency wallets to federal authorities. One of his wallets holds almost 100 Bitcoin.
Judge Scola, on September 25, will sentence Vallerius according to the sentencing guidelines for the new charges. The prosecution is no longer seeking life in prison, but a 20 year prison sentence is not out of the question. Seeing that Vallerius signed the deal, he obviously believed the deal provided his best way out of this legal mess and ultimately the United States.