The Colombian Policia Nacional, in coordination with EL PAcCTO and the General Prosecutor, have carried out a successful operation, leading to 16 arrests. A further four people have turned themselves into the authorities to make statements about money laundering, illegal enrichment of private individuals and conspiracy to commit crimes. EL PAcCTO has supported the operation with information obtained through Red Jaguar (police network specialising in environmental crime in Latin America and the European Union).
The criminal organisation was trading and trafficking in illegally mined gold from several parts of Colombia such as Caucasia, Zaragoza, El Bagre, San Roque, Remedios (Antioquia) and Quibdó (Chocó) using documents from around 17 legal mines. Among those arrested was a former mayor of Marmato Caldas, who owned a mine in this municipality.
During the search and raid, more than 320 million Colombian pesos in cash were seized, as well as digital and documentary materials that will be used as evidence in the investigation. The criminal organisation operated with up to eight companies with which it carried out more than 1,600 gold exports from 2015 to date.
Investigators discovered that the illegally mined gold in Antioquia was taken to Medellín, before being exported to Miami and New York, also the destination for gold mined in the departments of Chocó and Nariño. It has been revealed around 7.5 tonnes of gold worth 276 million dollars have been exported to India, the United Arab Emirates and the USA.