By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Two men have been charged with stealing four gold bars while working as cargo handlers at LAX, according to federal prosecutors.

Marlon Moody, 38, and Brian Benson, 35, both of South Los Angeles, were arrested Tuesday morning by the FBI and are expected to appear in United State District Court in downtown Los Angeles. A two-count indictment charges both men with conspiracy and theft of interstate and foreign shipment.

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Moody and Benson worked for Alliance Ground International, which provide ground handling services at LAX. According to the indictment, the men were working the night of April 22, 2020, when a shipment of 2,000 gold bars — weighing 1 kilogram and worth $56,000 each — arrived at LAX on Singapore Airlines. During a stopover, the gold was offloaded and secured, but an inventory conducted later that night showed one box containing 25 of the gold bars was missing.

Prosecutors allege Moody found the missing box of gold bars near the Singapore Airlines cargo warehouse the next day, put it on a belt loader and drove it to a nearby location to remove four of the bars. Soon after Benson arrived to pick up Moody in a company van, where federal prosecutors say they exchanged text messages about the gold bars to keep their conversation from other employees riding with them. They later left the airport and went to a nearby parking lot, where Moody gave Benson one of the bars, according to the indictment.

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The box of the 21 remaining gold bars was later discovered by other cargo handlers on April 23, and authorities launched an investigation into the missing bars that eventually led to Moody and Benson.

The indictment alleges Moody gave one bar to a relative on May 4 and instructed that person to exchange it for a car or money. At about the same time, Moody buried the remaining two gold bars in the backyard of his home, according to federal prosecutors.

The four gold bars were recovered by the FBI about two weeks after they went missing from LAX.

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If convicted as charged, Moody and Benson face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.