23 Jul 2019
The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized gold worth approximately £4 million as part of a money-laundering investigation into a suspected South American drug cartel.
Law enforcement officials interdicted the gold in June at Heathrow Airport, where it was in the process of being shipped from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland, the NCA said on Saturday. The agency formally seized the gold under the Proceeds of Crime Act following a hearing at London’s Uxbridge Magistrates.
The shipment, which had previously been transported from Venezuela to the Cayman Islands via a private jet, is now the subject of a probe led by Cayman authorities, according to the NCA, which is also taking part in the investigation.
In a statement, NCA Heathrow Branch Commander Steve McIntyre linked the seized gold to South American narcotics traffickers.
“The business model of many organised crime groups relies upon the ability to move money across borders, to fund further investment in criminal activity,” he said. “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.”
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