UK ‘El Chapo’ faces 120 years in US prison over bitcoin-for-drugs ring

A UK man dubbed the ‘El Chapo of the Cotswolds’ is facing 120 years in prison after a court ruled he can be extradited to the US to face charges of running an illegal drugs ring that has allegedly raked in more than $6 million in bitcoin.

Matthew Grimm was charged with five counts of drug charges and one count of money laundering for his alleged role in a multimillion-pound drug racket selling designer amphetamines to US customers.

The 49-year-old allegedly ran the operation alongside two accomplices for over 10 years, transporting drugs from the Netherlands using online marketplaces such as ‘Smokeyschemsite.’ US authorities reportedly froze £5.2 million ($6.5 million) worth of bitcoin connected to his alleged drug proceeds. 

Grimm was arrested in 2022 and given the green light for extradition by the country’s then-Home Secretary. He later appealed his US extradition, telling prosecutors to ‘bring it on,’ before, as reported by the Mirror, a High Court judge ruled against him last week.   

Read more: Darkweb drugs site Incognito Market threatens to out users who paid in crypto

Grimm was dubbed the ‘El Chapo of the Cotswolds’ and is reportedly an avid cyclist and member of the Chipping Sodbury Riding Club. During his latest court hearing, his lawyer claimed, “He’s gone cycling today.”

According to the Mirror, Grimm’s lawyer argued that the US wasn’t the right place for him to stand trial and that the charges were unfair as they lacked any equivalent under UK law.

They also claimed there was nothing to show his ‘criminal intent,’ and that “Mr. Grimm’s business operated entirely legally within the Netherlands, where the substances he sold were not prohibited.”

If convicted, Grimm faces a sentence of 120 years.

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