Iran's Intelligence Ministry says it has arrested 9 ring-leaders of a gold smuggling gang in the country's Western-Azarbaijan Province.
Quoting Intelligence Ministry officials, Fars news agency reported on Tuesday April 30 that the gang has smuggled 617 billion tumans (roughly $146 million at the official government rate or $44 million at the open market rate) worth of gold and silver into Iran.
The price of gold has been unusually high in Iran since May 2018 when the country's economic crisis worsened following the U.S. pull-out from the nuclear deal with Iran.
The statement issued by the ministry says some of these ring-leaders have been linked to officials at supervision and inspection offices, adding that they smuggled gold via official border checkpoints.
The statement added that individuals in a neighboring country collaborated with the Iranian gangs.
Although the ministry did not name the neighboring country, it appears that it was alluding to Turkey.