By John Ensor • 21 March 2023 • 14:16
£4 Million in Gold Bars ‘Belonging to Cocaine Gangs’ Seized at Heathrow Airport. Image: Shutterstock.com/Pixfiction
One hundred and four kilograms of gold had been initially flown from Venezuela by private jet to the Cayman Islands, where it was then due to be delivered to Switzerland via Heathrow.
The gold was discovered in the cargo hold of the aircraft, shaped into bars, cylinders, and some were even formed into hearts. It then became the subject of a money laundering investigation led by the Cayman authorities. The shipment has only just been allowed by Uxbridge magistrates to be held by the National Crime Agency (NCA) under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
NCA Heathrow branch commander, Steve McIntyre said, ‘working with partners overseas . . . we were quickly able to identify it and stop its onward movement.’ Drug cartels rely on being able to transfer large sums of money across international borders to fund further criminal activity. Gold is preferred due to its high value contained in small amounts. 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.’
Nick Jariwalla, Border Force Heathrow Director, said: ‘Taking large amounts of money or gold out of the control of criminal networks hits them where they feel it most, in the pocket. ‘This was a substantial seizure and demonstrates how effectively Border Force works with law enforcement partners, both at home and abroad, to combat organised crime.’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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