MIAMI - A South Florida man has been arrested in connection with the theft of $4.9 million worth of gold bars during a North Carolina truck heist in March 2015.
The FBI said Adalberto Perez, 46, of Opa-locka, was arrested Wednesday morning after authorities raided his home.
Neighbors told Local 10 News that they were shocked and thought Perez and his family were good people.
"They were really good neighbors that have been there a long time," one neighbor said.
According to the FBI, a tractor-trailer traveling from Miami to Boston was pulled over March 1, 2015, on Interstate 95 in Wilson County, North Carolina. Two gunmen, who spoke Spanish and identified themselves as "policia," restrained the occupants of the truck and led them into some nearby woods before stealing the gold bars and getting away in a white van.
Perez is the second South Florida man to be arrested in connection with the crime. Miguel Bovar pleaded guilty last year to an attempted extortion charge after he tried to sell one of the stolen gold bars and threatened the unidentified people to whom he agreed to sell it when the sale fell through.
Bovar was sentenced to three years in federal prison.
FBI spokesman Jim Marshall said Perez was expected to appear in federal court in Miami. Agents have not disclosed details about Perez's involvement in the heist, but he has a lengthy arrest history that includes charges of grand theft, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and arson.
Still, his sister-in-law doesn't believe Perez was involved in the truck heist or sale of the gold bars.
"If all this were true, I don't see how he could be living here, owning the type of vehicle he owns," Mily Nait said. "You know, two and two doesn't add up."
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to additional arrests.
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