Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announced arrests of defendants Marco Cruz, 47, of Hialeah, and Ramses Llufrio, 38, of Hialeah. The charges arise from the May 14, 2013 theft of gold bars worth an approximate value of $625,000 from American Airlines Flight 902, a flight that arrived at Miami International Airport from Guayaquil, Ecuador. The defendants are scheduled for an initial appearance today at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman.
The criminal complaint against Cruz charges him with, among other things, knowingly stealing gold bars which were part of a foreign shipment of property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 659. According to the allegations in the complaint, Flight 902 was a passenger flight that also contained cargo. After the flight arrived at Miami International Airport, airline employees removed the cargo, which included six boxes of gold bars. When airline employees noticed that one box of gold bars had gone missing, they notified law enforcement of the theft. Cruz, who works as a Fleet Service Clerk, had access to Flight 902 on the morning of its arrival. As part of its investigation into the theft, law enforcement interviewed employees at the airline, including Cruz. Although Cruz initially denied involvement in the theft, he gave law enforcement consent to search his home. In his home, law enforcement found one of the stolen bars and $200,000 in cash. Cruz later provided law enforcement with an additional $50,000 in cash.
The criminal complaint against Llufrio charges him with receiving one of the stolen gold bars, knowing that it had been stolen, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 659. According to the allegations in the complaint, Llufrio owns a pawn shop located at 548 NW 57th Avenue, Miami, FL, 33126. The complaint alleges that Cruz delivered a total of five gold bars to Llufrio and received approximately $250,000 in cash as a result of these transactions. Llufrio allegedly accepted one of the bars immediately after Cruz informed him that the bar was “hot.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of ten years imprisonment.
Mr. Ferrer commended investigative efforts of the FBI, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the City of Miami Police Department and the Coral Gables Police Department. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Byrne.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.