Two Cargo Handlers at LAX Arrested in Alleged Theft of Gold Bars
LOS ANGELES – Two employees of a cargo handling company who worked at Los Angeles International Airport were arrested this morning pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment that charges them will stealing four gold bars that were part of a larger shipment going from Australia to New York.
Marlon Moody, 38, and Brian Benson, 35, both of South Los Angeles, were arrested without incident by special agents with the FBI. The two defendants are expected to make their initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
A two-count indictment filed Tuesday charges Moody and Benson with conspiracy and theft of interstate and foreign shipment.
The indictment alleges that both men worked for Alliance Ground International, a company that provided ground handling services at LAX. On the evening of April 22, 2020, a shipment of gold bars arrived at LAX on Singapore Airlines. A total of 2,000 gold bars, each weighing one kilogram and valued at approximately $56,000, were being shipped at the direction of a Canadian bank. During a stopover at LAX, the gold was offloaded and secured, but an inventory that evening showed one box containing 25 gold bars was missing.
Moody allegedly found the missing box of gold bars near the Singapore Airlines cargo warehouse on the morning of April 23, placed the box on a belt loader and drove that vehicle to a nearby location, where he removed four of the bars. Soon after, Benson arrived to pick up Moody in a company van, where they exchanged text messages about the gold bars because other employees were in the van. The two defendants later left the airport and went to a nearby parking lot, where Moody gave Benson one of the four gold bars, the indictment states.
The lost box with the 21 remaining gold bars was discovered by other cargo handlers later on April 23, and authorities began an investigation that ultimately led to Moody and Benson.
Moody gave one gold bar to a relative on May 4 “and directed the family member to exchange the gold bar for a vehicle and/or money,” according to the indictment. Around this time, Moody buried the remaining two gold bars in the backyard of his residence.
The FBI recovered all four gold bars about two weeks after they went missing from LAX.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If they were to be convicted of the two charges, Moody and Benson each would face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.
The FBI, the Federal Air Marshal Service, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Airport Police investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys J. Jamari Buxton of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Lyndsi C. Allsop of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting the case.