On August 31, 2017, Gal Vallerius flew from his home in France to the US in order to compete in a worldwide beard-growing competition set to take place in Texas. When Vallerius’ plane landed in Atlanta, Georgia he was quickly apprehended by US law enforcement, however, it wasn’t his legendary beard that put Vallerius behind bars; investigators believe Vallerius is an international drug kingpin.
Dream Market is a dark web website similar to the Silk Road where users can buy and sell drugs. Police were able to arrest Vallerius on a warrant executed out of Miami, FL for distributing narcotics after connecting Vallerius to Bitcoin transactions also linked to the marketplace. Police searched through Vallerius’ laptop at the airport and discovered login credentials connecting him to the website.
According to police, they began investigating the illegal marketplace and the website’s administrators early last year. One user known as OxyMonster had been listed as both an administrator for the website, as well as a moderator for the website’s discussion forums. OxyMonster was also found to be a vendor on the site, whose specialty had allegedly been pharmaceuticals.
Police were able to track down several Bitcoin wallet addresses for OxyMonster, which investigators claim were registered under Vallerius’ real name and contact details. Comparing writing samples from both OxyMonster and posts on Vallerius’ public social media accounts, investigators noted several quirks present in the writing styles of both users, including the overuse of quotation marks.
Also found on Vallerius’ laptop was a Bitcoin wallet containing $500,000 worth of the cryptocurrency as well as the Tor browser, used to access the anonymous marketplace.
Vallerius did not contest the charges brought against him during a hearing held in Atlanta. He is set to be extradited to Miami where he faces a formal indictment. If found guilty Vallerius could face life imprisonment.