Police on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao have arrested seven suspects over the recent heist of 70 gold bars worth an estimated US$11.5 million, the Associated Press reported today.
The arrests come amid indications that the gold originated in Guyana.
AP reported Police spokesman Reginald Huggins as saying today that the authorities would soon release more details.
Three arrests were made earlier today and four more later in the day. One of the suspects is from the neighbouring Dutch island of Bonaire and three are from Venezuela. The others are from Curacao.
AP said that one of the Curacao men arrested is the owner of a local jewellery store, while the other two suspects were held at the jeweller’s house.
The arrests come nearly a month after gunmen pretending to be police daringly stole 216 kilograms (476 pounds) of gold bars from a fishing boat in Curacao.
Curacao authorities have not said where the gold was being delivered, but one of the ship’s crew members said they were delivering the gold to an unidentified company in Curacao.
The Curacao Chronicle is reporting that the jeweller arrested is Giovani Regales and that two of the gold bars were found on his premises. He has a business in the downtown area of Otrabanda in Willemstad, the capital of the island. The Curacao Chronicle also said that it is being reported by another media outlet that 30 of the gold bars were found in the US and that a “major organization” there was helping with the case.
Stabroek News was told that following the visit of two staffers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to Curacao in relation to the heist, local investigators are coming to the conclusion that the stolen gold came from here and would have therefore been smuggled out.