Security officials at London’s Heathrow Airport seized an estimated $5 million worth of gold bars as part of an ongoing investigation into a South American drug cartel.
According to FoxNews.com, the shipment of around 229 pounds of gold was first confiscated last month en route to Switzerland from the Cayman Islands after it had previously been sent from Venezuela on a private jet.
“We believe that this shipment was linked to drugs cartels operating out of South America,” NCA Heathrow branch commander Steve McIntyre told Fox News. “Working with partners overseas and in the UK we were quickly able to identify it and stop its onward movement.”
Gold worth around £4 million seized by NCA at Heathrow as part of international cartel investigation. Read more. https://t.co/yBNC6kTRUE pic.twitter.com/YIMKXaxTiJ
“The business model of many organized crime groups relies upon the ability to move money across borders, to fund further investment in criminal activity,” McIntyre continued. “If we can stop that it not only causes disruption to the criminal network involved and prevents them benefiting from crime, it also stops that re-investment.”
The National Crime Agency (NCA) was permitted to seize the gold under the Proceeds of Crime act, with it being used as evidence in a money laundering investigation conducted by officials in the Cayman Islands.
“Taking large amounts of money or gold out of the control of criminal networks hits them where they feel it most, in the pocket,” Border Force Heathrow Director Nick Jariwalla said. “This was a substantial seizure and demonstrates how effectively Border Force works with law enforcement partners, both at home and abroad, to combat organized crime.”
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