St. John’s Antigua- Law enforcement officials came up empty-handed when they raided the Heritage Quay business operated by Dante Tagliaventi on Tuesday, to recover evidence in the ongoing drug-trafficking investigation.
All the merchandise of the jewellery and high-end luxury goods store had been removed, leaving empty shelves.
The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) believe Tagliaventi’s business, Luxury Brands, was cleaned out between Friday and Monday, after news broke of his arrest in the Dominican Republic last week.
The officers are searching for the culprits and the loot.
Reports reaching this newspaper indicate the surveillance camera from inside the shop was also removed.
Officials at the St John’s Development Corporation (SJDC) are also looking into the matter, since the businessman owed the body money for services, a source revealed.
Ever since Tagliaventi was arrested, scores of people have been visiting the shop with queries about investments they have with the businessman.
One man complained he paid down $6,000 on a gold chain using the lay away plan and was hoping to complete payments next month and collect the piece of jewellery.
A woman and her fiancé, who said they plan to tie the knot this weekend, have also paid off for their wedding bands and had hopes of collecting the items last weekend. Now that the business is closed, Tagliaventi arrested and jewellery missing, the complainants are turning to ONDCP, police or attorneys for answers, but have not received any.
Meantime, apart from searching the shop, the ONDCP executed a search warrant at Tagliaventi’s older son’s Gambles home and storage house next door.
The officers left with several items, witnesses said.
That son has been in custody since Tuesday. However, the other son, who was last seen in Antigua on Monday, has reportedly left the state.
When OBSERVER Media called his cellular phone, the call went to voicemail and when the newsroom contacted the restaurant he and his brother operate, a woman said, “he is not here. He would be away for a while.”
Tagliaventi is now on remand in prison in Puerto Rico following an appearance before a magistrate there. He and five men are jointly accused of trafficking approximately 4, 000 kilos of cocaine.