AIRPORT--A large amount of gold bars were discovered on board of a private aircraft which originated from Venezuela during a routine joint control at Princess Juliana International Airport on Sunday, July 14.

The joint airport control was carried out by the Customs Department in cooperation with the Alpha Team.

During the control a large amount of gold bars were discovered on board of the aircraft. These gold bars of considerable value were all confiscated after it was discovered that the documentation regarding the gold was not in order, the St. Maarten Police Force said in a statement on Thursday.

After consultation with Prosecutor’s Office the decision was taken to have the Alpha Team continue with the investigation.

As the investigation continued the decision was taken to also confiscate the aircraft in question. The pilot, co-pilot and several persons of interest were interrogated as suspects of money laundering. The investigation is ongoing, the police said.