Two Hialeah men have been arrested in connection with a theft of gold bars worth about $625,000 from Miami International Airport, authorities announced Friday.
Marco Cruz, 47, and Ramses Llufrio, 38, face charges after a box of gold bars went missing following its arrival at MIA on American Airlines Flight 902 from Guayaquil, Ecuador on May 14, according to authorities.
Cruz faces charges including knowingly stealing gold bars which were part of a foreign shipment of property, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Steinbach and Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson announced.
After Flight 902 arrived at the airport that morning, airline employees removed the cargo, which included six boxes of gold bars, but then noticed that one box had gone missing, according to authorities. Cruz, who works as a fleet service clerk, had access to the flight after it arrived, authorities said.
He initially denied involvement in the theft, but law enforcement officers found one of the stolen bars and $200,000 in cash in his home, and Cruz later provided law enforcement with an additional $50,000 in cash, according to authorities.
Llufrio, who owns a pawn shop at 548 NW 57th Ave., faces a charge of receiving one of the stolen gold bars knowing that it had been stolen, authorities said.
Cruz delivered five gold bars to Llufrio and received about $250,000 for them, according to a criminal complaint. Llufrio allegedly accepted one bar immediately after Cruz informed him that the bar was “hot,” authorities said.
It wasn’t immediately known whether Cruz and Llufrio have attorneys. They were scheduled to have an initial court appearance Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman.
The defendants face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, authorities said.
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