Rionegro gold thief dies in prison.

April 25, 2013 sliabh Rionegro News

Published April 24, 2013 Associated Press

San Soles, Rionegro – A spokesman for the Rionegro Ministry of Prisons has announced that convicted bank robber Sergio Garcia has died in prison this week. Garcia (27), who was from the village of Las Cureñas outside the northern town of San Esteban, is reported to have died of “heart failure”.

To date he remains the only person to have been convicted in connection with the daring heist of gold from the Rionegro State Bank two years ago. The robbery occurred during the confusion in the capital at the outbreak of the country’s Civil War. A number of masked gunmen hijacked a truck carrying part of the Rionegro state gold reserves as it was being transferred for “safe keeping” by forces loyal to Vice President Munoz. As well as the financial impact, the loss of the gold was an embarrassment to the newly formed Republicano government. It remains unclear how much gold was taken at the time.

Despite a considerable search by the authorities the gang appear to have successfully used the chaos of the outbreak of war to cover their tracks. None of the gold has been recovered and Sergio Garcia was the only individual charged and convicted in relation to the crime. He was reported to have been drunkenly bragging of his responsibility in a bar when he was overheard by a police informer. A military court, operating under the emergency laws passed by the Republicano regime, had convicted Garcia of the crime and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. The sentence was controversially extended to life-without-parole for refusing to cooperate with the authorities in identifying other gang members, or the location of the stolen gold. This was protested by a number of countries and international organisations at the time.

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