$625,000 Gold Heist at Miami International Airport Leads to Arrests of Cargo Handler and Pawn Shop Owner

Last month, a particularly valuable piece of cargo flew into Miami International Airport from Ecuador: $625,000 worth of gold bars. Then they went missing.

Today police arrested two men, a cargo handler and a pawn shop owner, who they believe to be behind the heist.

Fellow cargo workers noticed that the box of six gold bars had gone missing and alerted authorities. Workers were interviewed, including 47-year-old Marco Cruz. He initially denied all involvement, according to Reuters.

When authorities came back to ask Cruz more questions he agreed to let them search his home. Bad move. Police found $200,000 in cash and one of the gold bars.

Police believe that Cruz sold all but one of the bars to Ramses Llufrio, a 38-year-old pawn shop owner, at an apparent super-discount of $250,000. Prosecutors believe that Llufrio bought the gold knowing that it had been stolen.

Cruz later turned in the missing $50,000.

If convicted both could face up to 10 years in jail.

Apparently they thought a little bit of gold going missing wouldn't be much of a big deal. Gold is, as Reuters points out, Miami's number one import. About $8 billion of the shiny stuff was imported into the city, mostly from Latin America, last year. Most of that ends up being exported to Switzerland.

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Kyle Munzenrieder