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More than $500,000 shared with Woburn Police Department after ICE probe

WOBURN, Mass. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) presented the Woburn Police Department with funds obtained from a criminal investigation. The funds were shared with the department for its assistance in an investigation into a Boston-area precious metals dealer who attempted to smuggle large quantities of gold into the United States from Canada.

The Woburn Police Department received a payment of $523,015.26 for its assistance with the investigation.

"HSI is proud to recognize the key role that our equally important local law enforcement partners played in bringing this case to a successful resolution," said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. "This money will allow the Woburn Police Department to continue the excellent work they do in the community."

The funds constitute a portion of the money obtained when Zohrab Sarkissian agreed July 29, 2011, to withdraw his claim to 15 bars of gold, $13,806 in U.S. currency, a 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL550, and .21 pounds of gold colored metal. In August 2010, Zohrab attempted to smuggle the gold and cash into the United States via the High Gate Spring, Vt., port of entry. On June 1, 2012, the gold bars were liquidated for the amount of $751,347. After the associated administrative costs of the forfeiture, the final forfeited amount was $747,413.97.

Woburn Chief of Police Robert Ferullo commended his officers for their work on the case. The remainder of the funds will go to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Asset Forfeiture Program.

The funds were distributed in accordance with HSI’s asset-forfeiture program that applies to assets obtained as proceeds or instrumentalities of criminal activity.