Man Accused of $2.8 Million Gold Heist Is Now a Fugitive

Raonel Valdez Valhuerdis, 34, was released from jail last month on $75,000 bond granted by a Miami-Dade judge

Monday, Apr 1, 2013  |  Updated 11:35 PM EDT
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Armed Robbery at Fort Lauderdale TJ Maxx

Coral Gables Police

Raonel Valdez Valhuerdis faces charges for robbing a courier for a Bolivian gold mining company of more than $2 million worth of gold.

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Man Robbed of More Than $2 Million in Gold: Police

A man faces charges for robbing a courier for a Bolivian gold mining company of more than $2 million worth of gold that the victim had in a luggage as he got off the elevator at his Coral Gables apartment building, authorities said. Raonel Valdez-Valhuerdis, 34, was arrested on Monday in connection to the Oct. 12 robbery, the arrest affidavit said.

Armed Robbery at Fort Lauderdale TJ Maxx

Fort Lauderdale Police are looking for a trio of suspects they say robbed a TJ Maxx store at gunpoint in broad daylight. Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Det. DeAnna Garcia talks about the robbery.
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A man who faces charges for robbing a courier for a Bolivian gold mining company of $2.8 million worth of gold is on the run, a private investigator representing the company said.

Raonel Valdez Valhuerdis, 34, was released from jail last month on $75,000 bond granted by a Miami-Dade judge.

“He vaporized,” his defense attorney Alex Michaels told The Miami Herald. “I obviously don’t know where he is. I wish he was around so we could go to trial and win this case.”

But Michaels is not the only one wondering where he is.

"My clients want justice and they are angry that the judge unleashed this dangerous man on the public as he has a lengthy arrest history of violence and drugs as well as ties to international crime rings and Cuban migrant smuggling in Mexico," said David Bolton, the private investigator hired by Quri Wasi, the Bolivian-based gold export company.

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Valdez Valhuerdis was arrested in 2012 in connection to the Oct. 12 gold robbery after the courier, George Villegas, positively identified him from a photographic lineup, authorities said.

Villegas said the robbery occurred when he was heading to his family business with two rolling suitcases containing 110 pounds of gold when three guys stopped him.

"And they took the gun out and said in Spanish, we've come for the gold – we just want the gold," Villegas said.

According to the affidavit, Valdez Valhuerdis shoved a semi-automatic pistol in the victim's face and yelled "We're here for the gold!"

Valdez Valhuerdis was on supervised house arrest and had a GPS bracelet attached to his ankle, the arrest report said.

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Tracking information showed that he was at the location of the robbery during the incident, according to authorities.

But last month Judge Leon Firtel allowed Valdez Valhuerdis out of jail with a GPS ankle monitor. The judge said there was not enough evidence of an armed robbery and no weapon had been found, the Herald reported.

But Miami-Dade jailers lost the signal on the GPS ankle monitor, the report said.

Quri Wasi is now offering $25,000 reward for the return of the stolen gold.

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