Desperate times call for desperate measures. At least, that’s what one might conclude in the case against Leston Lawrence who is accused of smuggling $180,000 worth of gold through an age-old smuggler’s method: up his rear end.
In the case against the 35-year-old man, which wrapped up on Tuesday, the Crown alleges that Lawrence took a “puck” of gold (of course, we’d call it that) that weighed around 210 grams and sold it to Ottawa Gold Buyers in the Westgate Shopping Centre for about $6,800. He would then head on over to the Royal Bank where he’d deposit his cheques.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, a very astute bank teller became suspicious when she noticed just now how many cheques Lawrence was depositing from Ottawa Gold Buyers. After noticing that Lawrence worked at the Mint she alerted the RCMP. Police say four pucks of gold were found in a safety deposit box.
Lawrence is accused of “theft, laundering the proceeds of a crime, possession of stolen property and breach of trust.”
Documents show that 18 pucks were sold by Lawrence between Nov. 27, 2014 and March 12, 2015, along with other gold coins, for a grand total of $179,015.
WATCH: A look at how coins are made at the Royal Canadian Mint with Shannon Cuciz
Why did police determine that the gold was smuggled out through back-end methods? Whenever an employee leaves the Mint, they must go through a metal detector. Records show that Lawrence set it off more than any other employee (aside from those who actually had metal implants). Though he was passed over with a hand wand, he always passed.
The defence is claiming that the Crown has no definitive proof that Lawrence actually took the gold from the Mint. There are no markings identifying them and no gold had been reported missing.
However, the Crown said that the pucks fit the Mint’s custom “dipping spoon” and Lawrence worked as an operator where he took gold from buckets in order to test the purity.
The case concluded on Tuesday with a verdict pending for Nov. 9.