Gal Vallerius, 36, has relinquished his crypto holdings worth over $700,000 after being handed a 20-year prison sentence.
One of the top convictions from the dark web marketplace Dream Market, Vallerius received the sentence after he pleaded guilty to two charges trafficking narcotics and money.
Nicknamed “Oxymonster” for his role as a “senior moderator” on the dark web marketplace, Vallerius was revered for his remarkable record in brokering deals for opioid, cocaine, and heroin.
Apprehending the French citizen, who also holds Israeli and British passports, was not an easy task. He managed to mask his online presence and evaded tracking quite well.
However, he made the ‘mistake’ of traveling from Brittany in France to the U.S to compete in the World Beard and Moustache competition.
Undercover agents from the DEA, FBI, and the US Postal Inspection Service posed as buyers on the marketplace and finally tracked him down to Atlanta.
OxyMonster will be incarcerated at a prison in Southern Florida, serving his prison term for drugs trafficking and money laundering.
OxyMonster forfeits seized crypto
At the time of his arrest, police determined that Vallerius’ laptop had the TOR browser installed, helping him to conceal his web footprint.
The agents also found his login details to the dark web Dream Market; and over $700,000 worth of cryptocurrency. There was more than 100 Bitcoin (BTC) and 121.95 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) found.
Vallerius cut a deal with the prosecutors after admitting to having sold drugs via the site and laundered the money via cryptocurrencies. In return, he avoided the potential life sentence he faced.
U.S District Judge Robert Scola said during sentencing that Vallerius’ crimes were “very serious,” though he agreed to sentence the Frenchman to the recommended 20 years as suggested by prosecutor Tony Gonzalez.
Upon his imprisonment, U.S government has seized all the crypto that was the proceeds of illicit and criminal activities. The plea agreement that Vallerius entered into means that he is to surrender all the passwords to his crypto wallets, allowing the authorities access.
Seizing Vallerius’ crypto assets is not the first time; it joins a list of several forfeitures whose assets are seized by the U.S government.
High profile crypto forfeitures
Among the first and most publicized case involves Silk Road, whose creator Ross Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence.
Silk Road began its operations in 2011, quickly becoming the biggest dark web marketplace for drugs, weapons, and money laundering. It was shut down in 2013 after the arrest of its founder Ross Ulbricht.
When the U.S Marshals arrested Ulbricht, they confiscated a staggering 144,336 BTC from him another 29,656 BTC from Silk Road servers.
In September, a U.S court seized property worth over $12 million from Alexander Cazes, the owner of AlphaBay. Cazes committed suicide in 2017 after his arrest and at the time, authorities seized crypto assets worth over $8.8 million.
Last week, the U.S Marshals announced the auction of 660 Bitcoins forfeited by various parties, including 120 from Theresa Tetley and Thomas Mario Costanzo who are serving prison terms.
It will be the third auction after the agency sold off over 5,700 Bitcoins in January and March this year.
There are possibilities that more cases that lead to future cryptocurrency forfeitures. And as the government seeks to dispose of these assets quickly, there are likelihoods of more auctions in the future.