Gold Rush At Heathrow Airport Tied to Drug Cartel

For authorities at Heathrow Airport, June 1 proved to be far from business as usual, as they seized approximately US$5 million worth of solid gold bars being trafficked through the airport, a National Crime Agency (NCA) press release announced Saturday. 

The seized gold is worth about $5 million (Source: National Crime Agency)The seized gold is worth about $5 million (Source: National Crime Agency)The contraband is allegedly tied to a South American drug cartel. 

“The business model of many organized crime groups relies upon the ability to move money across borders, to fund further investment in criminal activity,” Steve McIntyre, the commander of the NCA’s Heathrow branch, said in the press release. 

“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,” he said.

All 104 kilos of gold were being transported to Switzerland from the Cayman Islands via Heathrow airport when they were seized. However the gold originated in Venezuela, where it was then shipped to the Cayman Islands on somebody’s private jet.  

It is now at the center of a money laundering investigation being run by the Cayman Island authorities with the help of the NCA, according to the press release.  

Authorities at Heathrow believe that the “substantial” seizure will have a tangible impact on the cartel laundering it. 

“Taking large amounts of money or gold out of the control of criminal networks hits them where they feel it most, in the pocket,” Nick Jariwalla, Border Force Heathrow Director, said in the statement.