Port Everglades is looking like an auto dealership these days, with rows of high-end vehicles on display, including a Mercedes Biturbo SUV worth a whopping $150,000, and even a few low-end cars, such as a Toyota Corolla valued at a meager $20,000.
The investigation began in April after a tip from Homeland Security Investigation special agents in Bogotá, Colombia. Agents in Broward County stopped the cargo on June 16.
“These vehicles were bound for Venezuela illegally in violation of U.S. sanctions to continue their lavish lifestyle while the people of Venezuela continue to suffer,” said Anthony Salisbury, HSI Miami special agent in charge.
Salisbury said Raul Gorrin, the president of 24-hour television network Globovisión and La Vitalicia insurance company in Venezuela, was involved. He described the billionaire fugitive as “one of the largest money launderers in the world.”
For a while, Gorrin was a Miami regular who used to have a luxury home in Coral Gables’ Cocoplum community. President Donald Trump’s administration changed that.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control, the financial intelligence agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, identified Gorrin as a defendant in a $2.4 billion case linked to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company fraud. Gorrin was also a defendant in a U.S. Department of Justice case involving over $1 billion in bribes, shell companies, and a bank in the Dominican Republic.
Prosecutors haven’t filed any charges against Gorrin or any of the parties who were allegedly involved. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents believe Venezuelan smugglers gave cash to straw buyers in the U.S.