A $140 million gold smuggling operation was busted by federal investigators, and one person has been charged in connection to the ring.
Federal prosecutors in Florida announced last week they charged Jesus Gabriel Rodrigues Jr., 45, with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Rodriguez owned Transvalue, a South Florida company that transported gold, cash and other valuables by armed truck, according to prosecutors.
Between March 2015 and September 2016, Rodriguez used his experience to transport thousands of kilograms of illicitly sourced gold coming to the U.S. from Curacao, according to prosecutors.
The sellers of the gold were co-conspirators based in the Caribbean and the buyers were co-conspirators based in South Florida and Latin America, according to prosecutors. The buyers made commissions for buying for a company that was a metal refinery.
The metal refinery company had policies in place to combat money laundering, including not buying from Curacao, according to prosecutors. Curacao is a country with no gold mines and it is used as a point for gold smuggled out of South America, prosecutors noted.
Rodriguez helped the co-conspirators dodge the metal refinery’s policies to get the gold past U.S. Customers, prosecutors alleged.
In one case, Rodriguez helped the transportation of the gold through various countries before it reached the U.S. Some of the gold was falsely identified as coming from the Cayman Islands, not Curacao, according to prosecutors.
To pay for the gold, “clean” money was wire-transferred to the co-conspirators.