A pair of high-profile arrests have jolted New York’s 47th Street Diamond District.
In the first, police raided a dozen Manhattan jewelry stores and arrested 22 people for allegedly selling “fenced” goods. Three of the stores were in the Diamond District, and most of those arrested were Russian. Police also confiscated millions of dollars in gold, jewelry, and watches.
In the second, three New York Hasidim were arrested for allegedly laundering millions of dollars in cocaine money for Colombian drug dealers. Some of the meetings between the suspects and the eventual informant took place in the Diamond District. This story made the front-page of the New York Daily News with the headline “Diamond Ring.”
John Kennedy of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance thinks that the close timing of the arrests was no coincidence.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in law enforcement and the FBI looking at the jewelry industry, and we think that a lot of it is because of these stories about the possible link between jewelry and money laundering by terrorists,” he says.