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Multimillion-dollar airport gold heist was an inside job, Canada police say

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By Joanna Putman
Police1

TORONTO — Nine individuals are facing charges in connection to the reported largest gold theft in Canadian history from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the Associated Press reported.

Police have issued arrest warrants for three additional individuals, describing the incident as an “inside job.” In total, nine suspects face more than 19 charges.

The group, including an Air Canada warehouse employee and a former manager, stole 6,600 gold bars worth over CA$20 million ($14.5 million) and CA$2.5 million ($1.8 million) in foreign currencies, later used to purchase illegal firearms, according to the report. Peel Regional Police reported the theft involved a fraudulent bill to access the gold stored in an Air Canada cargo warehouse on April 17, 2022.

“This story is… we jokingly say, belongs in a Netflix series,” said Peel Regional Chief Nishan Duraiappah.

The key suspects, including Air Canada employee Parmpal Sidhu and Toronto jewelry store owner Ali Raza, have been arrested and released on bail. Meanwhile, truck driver Durante King-Mclean, directly involved in the theft, remains in U.S. custody on firearms and trafficking charges, according to the report.

Authorities continue to search for former Air Canada manager Simran Preet Panesar among others. To date, only CA$90,000 ($65,000) of the stolen funds has been recovered.

The apprehension of King-Mclean led to the seizure of 65 illegal firearms, including fully automatic weapons, according to the report.

“I’m proud to say that we successfully put an international gun trafficking operation out of business,” U.S. ATF Special Agent Eric DeGree said. “We kept 65 firearms off the streets of Canada and prevented them from being used in any number of crimes.”

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