THIS IS HOW DRUG LORDS MAKE BILLIONS SMUGGLING GOLD TO MIAMI | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


THIS IS HOW DRUG LORDS MAKE BILLIONS SMUGGLING GOLD TO MIAMI

Much of the gold used to make the components for your smartphone, or the gold band for your engagement ring, has a secret criminal history that, before a stunning report published by the Miami Herald on Tuesday, wasn’t widely known to the US public.

In parts of Peru, drug cartels operate illegal gold mines to pull the lucrative gold metal out of the Earth. Much of this inventory is then sold to multinational companies, where illegally harvested gold blends with the legitimate supply from larger, established mines. Some of it ends up in jewelry, in smart phones and even in the vaults of the US Mint, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks, which are liberal buyers of gold.

Like the illegal shipments of cocaine in the Netflix series Narcos, much of the illegal gold flowing into the US enters in Miami. Last year, more than $35 billion in gold cycled through Miami.

And just like cocaine, a market for illicit metal has blossomed in South Florida, where nearly a third of the nation’s imported gold enters.

Over the past decade, Miami, a longtime point of entry into the United States for contraband, imported $35 billion worth of gold via air, according to U.S. Customs records analyzed by WorldCity, a Coral Gables-based economic data firm. That was more than any other U.S. city.

Some of the metal shipped to Miami is refined locally. Other batches are sent across the country to be melted down and manufactured into jewelry and bullion. Central banks around the world are major buyers of gold. So is the U.S. Mint. And electronics companies use small amounts of gold in consumer products because it is an effective conductor and doesn’t corrode.

One way or another, almost everyone has Miami gold in their pockets, portfolios or jewelry boxes.

Simple math shows it can’t all be clean.

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