Posted by Allison Crawford on the Wealth Wire
Police in Willemstad, Curacao are now pursuing leads following a multi-million dollar gold heist that took place Friday. The 70 gold bars worth an estimated $11.5 million were being transported on a fishing boat docked in the southern Caribbean island on its way from Guyana when the attack occurred.
“There is information coming in,” said police spokesperson Reggie Huggins who reported that authorities have the license plate number of one of the three cars used in Friday’s getaway. “We are getting reactions from the public, but we still have to sort it out,” Huggins added.
So far no arrests have been made.
The robbery involved six men who posed as police officers to get into the restricted area where the boat was located. The attack took place in the early hours of Friday morning, shortly after the boat had arrived. Once on board, the assailants struck the boat’s captain in the head and proceeded to make off with the 476 pounds of gold in a matter of minutes.
“They took everything,” crew member Raymond Emmanuel told the Associated Press. According to Huggins, “the crew said it was like a movie operation, very fast.”
Because the case in under investigation, the intended recipient of the gold has yet to be released. Authorities in Curacao were informed of the shipment in advance as part of normal security procedures. None of the crew members on board the ship were armed during the attack, said Emmanuel. “This is normal,” he explained. “We never carry arms. Since I started working here, I’ve transported gold once before, and this is the system.”
Rechenel Martyn, spokesperson for Curacao Customs, confirmed that the ship’s crew followed protocol and that there is no special procedure for shipments of high value.
Officials in Guyana, a South American country near Curacao, are in the process of investigating where to gold was mined. Environment Minister Robert Persaud told the AP that such gold shipments are usually flown directly to the buyer and involve heavy security. If the gold was mined in Guyana, said Persaud, it would be a clear case of smuggling. “We don’t want to jump the gun and say that the gold is from Guyana,” he stated. “That is what we first have to establish, as well as if the ship made any other stops anywhere else.”
Guyana produces roughly 650,000 ounces of gold per year, and officials say up to half of it is smuggled out of the country to avoid taxes. According to officials in Guyana, there is no record of the boat, named “Summer Bliss,” leaving the Port Georgetown Harbor, but it could have left from a pier at any of the country’s rivers.
Story courtesy of the Wealth Wire: http://www.wealthwire.com/news/metals/4245?r=1
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