Miami, Fl. – South Florida federal prosecutors have charged a Doral business owner with facilitating a $140 million transnational illicit gold smuggling operation aimed at laundering cash with alleged ties to criminal activity.
According to the criminal complaint affidavit unsealed yesterday, Jesus Gabriel Rodriguez, Jr., 45, owned and operated Transvalue, a South Florida company that transported gold, cash, and other valuables by armored truck, both domestically and internationally. It is alleged that from about March 2015 to September 2016, Rodriguez used his industry experience and contacts to facilitate the importation of thousands of kilograms of illicitly-sourced gold being flown into the United States from Curacao. The sellers of the gold were co-conspirators based in the Caribbean. The buyers of the gold were co-conspirators based in South Florida and Latin America who earned volume-based commissions by procuring gold for NTR Metals (now, Elemetals LLC). NTR Metals was a U.S. precious metals refinery with policies in place to combat money laundering, including not buying gold from Curacao, a country with no gold mines that is commonly used as a waypoint for gold illegally mined in, and smuggled out of, South America. Rodriguez helped co-conspirators dodge NTR Metals’ anti-money laundering policy and get the gold past U.S. Customs by working to conceal the gold’s illegal origins and connections to Curacao, says the affidavit.
For example, it is alleged that Rodriguez coordinated transportation for the gold that routed it through different countries before reaching its final destination in Miami: from Curacao to the United States, to the Cayman Islands, and back to the United States. According to the charges, Rodriguez hired brokers to clear the gold through U.S. Customs at Miami International Airport (MIA), where customs documentation was introduced falsely identifying the gold as having originated in the Cayman Islands, not Curacao. Then, Rodriguez used his company’s armored trucks to transport the smuggled gold from MIA to NTR Metals’ precious metals refinery in Doral, it is alleged. To pay for the gold, “clean” money was wire-transferred to companies owned by co-conspirators.
The criminal complaint against Jesus Gabriel Rodriguez, Jr. charges him with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering.