(RepublicanPeak.com)- The UK government has obtained a settlement allowing it to take possession of most of the £4 million worth of gold bars that were seized at London’s Heathrow Airport in 2019, the UK Mirror reported on Monday.
The gold, which is believed to belong to a South American drug cartel, was seized by the UK Border Force in July 2019 following intelligence provided by the National Crime Agency.
The gold seized at Heathrow had been shaped into bars, cylinders, and even hearts and weighed more than 220 pounds.
It had been stowed aboard the cargo section of a plane that arrived in London from the Cayman Islands on its way to its final destination in Switzerland. It was originally shipped to the Caymans from Venezuela aboard a private jet.
Officers from the NCA, working closely with Cayman Islands authorities, established a false paperwork trail to hide the gold’s true origin in Venezuela. Those involved in the transfer of the gold were linked to organized crime.
After settlement discussions and an application to the UK High Court last week, the National Crime Agency obtained a civil recovery order allowing investigators to take possession of more than 80 percent of the gold under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The remaining approximately 20 percent will be returned to the companies with a financial interest in the gold.
According to Andy Noyes, a branch commander with the National Crime Agency, the investigation showed that the gold was linked to South American drug cartels. He explained that cartels prefer using gold to move drug money since “relatively small amounts” have such a high value.
Noyes said the NCA’s intervention was able to disrupt the “criminal network” and stop the cartels from “reinvesting” in further criminal activity, the Mirror reported.