Coin company employee accused of smuggling gold in his anus
A worker from the Royal Canadian Mint almost got away with $180,000 in gold by hiding the precious metal up his bum.
Leston Lawrence, 35, evaded multiple levels of detection by using the time-honored prison trick, according to a report from the Ottawa Citizen.
The Ottawa, Ontario, native is currently indicted for multiple charges, including smuggling for cash, theft, laundering the proceeds of crime, possession of stolen property and breach of trust.
Lawrence, who has since been terminated, previously worked as an operator in the refinery section. Among his duties was to scoop gold from buckets so it could be tested for purity, as the company prides itself on gold coins above the 99 percent level.
During his trial last week, Lawrence was accused of taking small circular chunks of gold—a cookie-sized nugget called “puck,” on multiple occasions and selling it to the Ottawa Gold Buyers in the Westgate Shopping Center on Carling Avenue.
The pucks usually weighed at about 210 grams, or 7.4 ounces, for which he was given checks in the $6,800 range.
Lawrence’s dubious deeds were busted when a teller became suspicious on the amount of the size and number of checks coming from the Mint employee and immediately alerted the police, the report said.
His thieving was later justified by the company, claiming that Lawrence set off the metal detector at an exit from the “secure area” with more frequency than any other employee—except those with metal medical implants.
Despite being cuffed and subjected to a “manual search” multiple times, he always passed the search, leading officials to believe that he had been smuggling gold through his anus.
The nail in the coffin came when investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker, further igniting that he concealed the puck in an anal cavity, which could not be detected by their search wands.
Authorities, meanwhile, were puzzled how Lawrence managed to get past the strict security measures of the fortress-like facility, which produces hundreds of millions of gold coins annually for Canada’s federal Crown Corporation.
Defense lawyer Gary Barnes echoed this sentiments in court and described the predicament as “appalling.”
“This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honor, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,” Barnes said during his closing submission in court. “And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets.”
In a statement, the Mint confirmed that they have upgraded the facilities’ security measures by adding high-definition security cameras in all areas, improved ability to track, balance and reconcile precious metal, and the use of “trend analysis technology.” Khristian Ibarrola
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.