Canadian Mint worker accused of hiding $180K of gold in his rectum
Leston Lawrence, from Barrhaven, Ont., has been accused of allegedly smuggling gold "pucks" out of the Canadian Mint by hiding them in his behind.
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The bizarre case against an employee accused of smuggling gold out of the Canadian Mint wrapped up in an Ottawa courtroom Tuesday.
"This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest secruity measure imaginable," said defence lawyer Gary Barnes in his closing statements.
Security allegedly circumvented by Leston Lawrence, 35, who is accused of stealing a series of small chunks of gold called a "puck" out of the facility by hiding them in his rectum.
According to Kelly Egan, an Ottawa Citizen reporter present during the proceedings, a bank teller was the first to find something questionable with Lawrence’s recent acquiring of gold.
The Barrhaven, Ont. resident repeatedly took the pucks that weighed about 210 grams to the Ottawa Gold Buyers in the Westgate Shopping Centre, cashing them in for cheques worth about $6,800.
When he continued to deposit those cheques at the Royal Bank location in the same mall, asking the money to be transferred overseas, a teller became suspicious. When she noticed on his account that he worked for the Canadian Mint, she alerted security who then notified the RCMP.
According to records, 18 gold pucks were sold in less than four months. The value of those pucks combined with four found in Lawrence’s safety deposit box at the bank was estimated at a combined $179,015.
Court heard Lawrence set off the detectors at the facility, the most out of its employees. However, when he was pulled aside for the Mint's second security test, using a handheld wand, he passed each time.
But in the RCMP’s investigation, they found a jar of Vaseline in his work locker. The trial concluded by investigators suggesting he concealed the gold in his anal cavity and that this could have been undetected by the wand.
Lawrence, who has since been fired by the Mint from his job as a refinery operator, is facing a series of charges including theft, laundering the proceeds of a crime, possession of stolen property and breach of trust.
A decision in the case has been scheduled for Nov. 9.