Venezuelan men had $5M in gold at Fort Lauderdale airport: Feds

Posted at 2:45 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 14:45:56-04

Two Venezuelan nationals were arrested at a South Florida airport after authorities say the small plane they were in was carrying $5 million in gold bars.

Jean Carlos Sanchez Rojas and Victor Fossi Grieco were taken into custody after they landed at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in a private plane on Sept. 20, according to a criminal complaint.

After they landed, Customs and Border Protection officers examined the plane and saw loose rivets on the nose compartment. When they opened it up, they found about 230 pounds in gold bars under a solid metal covering, the complaint said.

Sanchez Rojas told investigators he had obtained the gold "from multiple sources in Venezuela" and was going to sell it in the United States, the complaint said.

"Sanchez Rojas stated he knew the organization had smuggled gold previously into the U.S. and that he would receive a fee for his involvement with the gold smuggling," the complaint read.

Neither Sanchez Rojas or Fossi Grieco, who was the pilot, had declared the gold when going through customs, the complaint said. Their plane had traveled from Caracas.

Both Sanchez Rojas and Fossi Grieco were booked into the Broward County jail, where they were being held Tuesday. Attorney information wasn't available.

Story from our news partner NBC 6