International Fugitive Wanted for Record Gold Heist Now in a South Florida Jail

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    NEWSLETTERS

    He’s accused of committing the largest gold heist in state history, and as of Wednesday, he’s now in a South Florida jail. (Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014)

    He’s accused of committing the largest gold heist in state history, and as of Wednesday, he’s now in a South Florida jail.

    The U.S. Marshals Service said Raonel Valdez-Valhuerdis, 34, was booked into jail on Wednesday. He was originally arrested in February by Belize immigration officials at the Guatemala-Belize border.

    Authorities had been looking for Valdez since Oct. 12, 2012. On that day, law enforcement said an employee for a Bolivian export company walked out of his apartment in Coral Gables and was met by Valdez and two other unidentified men.

    Valdez allegedly pointed a gun at the employee and said, “We are only here for the gold.” Valdez, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, hit the victim in the face and held him at gunpoint, while his accomplices grabbed two suitcases with more than 100 pounds of gold flakes inside.

    The two suitcases were worth an estimated $2.8 million.

    At the time of the robbery, Valdez was wearing a GPS ankle monitor due to a previous arrest. Coral Gables used the ankle monitor to place Valdez at the scene of the crime and found that Valdez was conducting surveillance on the residence in the weeks leading up to the crime.

    Valdez was identified by the victim in a lineup and was arrested for the gold heist on Oct. 22, 2012. He was then released on a $75,000 bond and then failed to appear for any more court hearings. An arrest warrant was arrested in 2013.

    According to the Marshals Service, Valdez was found by immigration officials in February while crawling through bushes at the border. He had a Cuban passport, but it didn’t have an immigration stamp showing his entrance into the country. The Cuban passport was issued in December 2012 in Washington, D.C.

    After being on the lam for almost two years, Valdez is now in a Miami-Dade County jail.