About £4 million ($5 million) worth of gold was seized at London’s Heathrow Airport by Border Force officers as part of an international investigation into a suspected South American drugs cartel.
The gold, which weighed 104 kilograms (229 pounds), was on its way to Switzerland from the Cayman Islands when it was seized but no arrests were made, police said.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) a governmental law enforcement organization reported that the gold was believed to have originated in Venezuela, from where it was transported to the Cayman Islands on a private jet. Border Force agents at Heathrow Airport subsequently moved in to detain the shipment when it arrived in the UK, based on intelligence provided by the NCA.
According to Steve McIntyre, NCA Heathrow branch commander, “We believe that this shipment was linked to drugs cartels operating out of South America. Working with partners overseas and in the UK, we were able to quickly identify it and stop its onward movement.
“The business model of many organized crime groups relies upon the ability to move money across borders, to fund further investment in criminal activity. 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.”