cover image Dirty Gold: The Rise and Fall of an International Smuggling Ring

Dirty Gold: The Rise and Fall of an International Smuggling Ring

Jay Weaver, Nicholas Nehamas, Jim Wyss, and Kyra Gurney. PublicAffairs, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5417-6290-9

In this shocking true crime epic, the four investigative journalist authors take a deep dive into the case of three Miami businessmen who built a multibillion-dollar smuggling empire that touched several continents and opened U.S. law enforcement’s eyes to yet another avenue of immorality. From 2013 to 2016, Juan Pablo Granda, Renato Rodriguez, and Samer Barrage used their company, NTR Metals, to smuggle over $3.6 billion in illegally mined gold into the U.S. The NTR Metals case drew international condemnation for its role in exploiting a lesser-known illicit economy that rivals the cocaine and blood diamond trades in terms of harm to the countries of origin: dirty gold comes from an industry in which criminals use toxic chemicals and destructive mining practices to rip the precious metal from the Andes and Amazonian riverbeds, destroying whole ecosystems and poisoning impoverished communities. The authors take the reader beyond the sensational multiagency investigation to provide a comprehensive exploration of the international precious metal trade to show how a criminal enterprise can thrive with a product where melting can erase all traces of origin easier than documents can be forged. This is a must-read for fans of Matthew Hart’s Diamonds and Roberto Saviano’s ZeroZeroZero. Agent: David Patterson, Stuart Krichevsky Literary. (Mar.)