“I just want to say how sorry I am to my family… I love my family very much,” said Renato Rodriguez, former employee of NTR Metals in Doral Miami. Rodriguez left the courthouse in tears recently after being sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison for his involvement in a $3.6 billion illegal gold import money laundering scheme.
Renato Rodriguez,44, along with his two fellow brokers; Samer Barrage, 40, and Juan Granda, 36, all faced charges for their parts in the NTR money laundering. NTR precious metals dealers bought billions of dollars of illegally mined and smuggled gold from drug-trafficking organizations based out of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Columbia.
Although Rodriguez had the least culpable role in the NTR operation compared to the other three accomplices, he will face a higher sentencing because Barrage and Granda cut cooperation deals with the U.S. attorney’s office at their hearing in January. Barrage, former NTR vice president, received nearly seven years and Granda, former salesman, received only six years. Rodriguez could have faced a lesser sentence but he waited until October to plead guilty.
The three men will be assisting the U.S. attorney’s office against NTR and Elemetal, NTR’s parent company based in Dallas, with the hope of unfolding the money laundering probe which could bring about criminal charges and fines against both companies. In addition, with Rodriguez’s inside knowledge, he could possibly see a reduced sentence. Investigators along with Homeland Security and the FBI will be focusing on Miami’s precious metals industry, which is the main importer of gold within the United States.
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