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article imageUS judge sets date for Frenchman's 'dark web' drug trial

By AFP     Feb 6, 2018 in Internet

A US judge set a date in May for the "dark web" drugs-for-bitcoins trial of a Frenchman arrested while traveling to the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Texas.

Known as the "OxyMonster," Gal Vallerius was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances on a site called Dream Market.

Arrested last August 31 in Atlanta, Georgia on his arrival from France, he was later transferred to Miami, where he appeared in handcuffs Tuesday -- sporting a thick, red beard -- before US District Judge Robert Scola.

Scola set a trial date for May 29, and noted Vallerius's request for a Hebrew translator before the trial.

Lawyers on both sides said they needed time to prepare for a complex case involving evidence extracted from Vallerius's computer.

"They're still collecting information, we are still collecting information. We are still very much at the beginning of it," Vallerius's lawyer Anthony Natale told AFP.

Prosecutors allege that Dream Market was set up to arrange anonymous sales of drugs and other illegal items for bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.

Investigators, through undercover drug sales on the site, made contact with a "senior moderator" who went by the pseudonym OxyMonster.

Besides being a moderator, he also sold drugs sent from France, according to the prosecution.

Eventually, they were able to link OxyMonster to Vallerius, prosecutors allege.

While going through customs at the Atlanta Airport, a check of his computer allegedly confirmed Vallerius was the Dream Market drug baron.

If convicted, he could face life in prison.

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