Gold bars melted down after Canada’s biggest ever bullion heist ‘used to buy guns’

World

Nine suspects in Canada’s biggest ever gold heist have been named by police, who believe the stolen bars were melted down to buy guns.

The theft of a cargo of 6,600 gold bars weighing 400kg and foreign currency, worth a total of more than C$22m (nearly £13m), has been compared to an Ocean’s Eleven film.

The haul was snatched from an Air Canada cargo facility at Toronto Pearson International Airport on 17 April last year

Two Air Canada employees – a warehouse worker and a former manager who gave police a tour of the cargo facility after the theft – and the owner of a jewellery store are among the nine people facing charges over the raid.

Three of those identified remain at large.

“This story is a sensational one and which probably, we jokingly say, belongs in a Netflix series,” Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said.

At a news conference at the airport a year after the heist, Detective Sergeant Mike Mavity said a driver arrived at the airline’s cargo warehouse with a fraudulent bill for seafood.

More on Canada

The truck he was driving was used to pick up the gold and currency that had been transported from a refinery in Zurich, Switzerland.

“They needed people within Air Canada to facilitate this theft,” he said.

Image:
The truck used in the heist. Pic: Peel Regional Police

Police investigators, working with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in an operation dubbed “Project 24Karat” have recovered 1kg of gold and about C$434,000 in Canadian currency (£250,000).

Some 65 firearms, which were allegedly due to be smuggled into Canada from the US, were also seized.

“We believe that they’ve melted down the gold and then the profits they got from the gold, they used to help finance the firearms,” DS Mavity said.

He said six crudely made bracelets made of gold had also been recovered.

“I don’t think I ever imagined they would have to deal with the largest gold heist in Canadian history,” said Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ontario. “It’s almost out of an Ocean’s Eleven movie or CSI.”

Image:
Crude gold bracelets. Pic: Peel Regional Police

Read more from Sky News:
Prince Harry officially declares US his new home
Harry Potter star announces death of wife

Police named nine suspects, including six who have been arrested, and gave details of the 19 charges they face.

Air Canada employee Parmpal Sidhu, 54, from Brampton, Ontario, jewellery store owner Ali Raza, 37, from Toronto, Amit Jalota, 40, an Oakville, Ontario resident, Ammad Chaudhary, 43, from Georgetown, Ontario and Prasath Paramalingam, 35, from Brampton were arrested and released on bail ahead of a court appearance.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

The truck driver alleged to have picked up the gold, Durante King-Mclean, a 25-year-old from Brampton, is currently in custody in the US on firearms and trafficking related charges, police said.

Police are still searching for former Air Canada manager Simran Preet Panesar, 31, and Archit Grover, 36, both from Brampton, and Arsalan Chaudhary, 42, from Mississauga Ontario.

Air Canada said it had suspended one cargo division employee charged over the theft while the other, who worked in the same department at the time of the heist, had left the airline before the charges were announced.

“As this is now before the courts, we are limited in our ability to comment further,” Air Canada said in a statement.

Articles You May Like

Dell surges 9% on optimism it has secured big AI server orders
Putin thanks Xi for his efforts to resolve Ukraine conflict as the ‘good friends’ bolster China-Russia ties
Honda debuts hydrogen-powered Class 8 fuel cell Semi truck concept
Chinese EV maker Xpeng aims to deliver its first flying car in 2026
House Democrat presses oil CEOs for details of Trump’s fundraising dinner at Mar-a-Lago