Gold stolen in Toronto airport heist likely in India or Dubai, police say

Peel Regional Police said nine persons allegedly stole more than $20 million in gold bars from an Air Canada storage facility at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The investigation’s costs may surpass $10 million.

Gold stolen from Toronto airport heist likely in India or Dubai, police say
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Law enforcement are claiming the gold stolen during the Pearson Airport heist in April is likely in Dubai or India.

Peel Regional Police first announced April 17 that several persons stole more than $20 million in gold bars from an Air Canada storage facility at the airport. 

The gold bars came from a Zurich, Switzerland refinery, where it arrived at the facility that evening.

Using fake documents, a suspect drove off after loading the cargo into a five-tonne delivery truck. It disappeared in a rural area of Milton, Ontario. 

Police could not immediately track the truck.

Brink’s Canada is suing Air Canada over the stolen goods.

The majority of the gold is believed to be abroad, though some was melted down in a Toronto jewelry shop. 

“We believe a large portion has gone overseas to two markets that are flushed with gold — that would be Dubai or India — where you can take gold with serial numbers on it, and they will still honour it and melt it down,” Det.-Sgt. Mike Mavity told the Peel Police Service Board during a June 21 meeting. 

He earlier said only $89,000 of the $20 million had been recovered.

Following the heist, law enforcement laid 19 charges for nine persons with alleged involvement.

Two of the men were Air Canada employees Parmpal Sidhu, 54, and Simran Preet Panesar, 31. They were charged with theft over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Panesar is currently abroad in either the United Kingdom or India. Police said his lawyer is working toward his surrender.

Others accused include Prasath Paramalingam, 35; Archit Grover, 36; Ali Raza, 37; Amit Jalota, 40; Arsalan Chaudhary, 42; Ammad Chaudhary, 43; and Durante King-Mclean, 25.

Six of the suspects have been released on bail, as their charges reflect non-violent crimes.

Panesar and Chaudhary both face Canada-wide warrants, while King-Mclean remains in the United States. 

“We are guided by the Criminal Code and we have to release them,” Det.-Sgt. Mavity said. “I think if we were to hold them for bail, it would jeopardize the prosecution, which is why the decision that we made to release them on bail.”

Police also highlighted June 21 that firearms trafficking may have also been committed as part of the heist.

“This isn’t just about gold. This is about how gold becomes guns,” said Nando Iannicca, chair of the Peel Police Service Board, in response. “Gold can be remade, but people’s lives, and what happens when guns are involved, cannot.”

The investigation involved 20 Peel Regional Police officers, who logged over 28,000 regular hours and 9,500 overtime hours. Det. Gordon Oakes said that translates into significant costs.

Police board member Alan Boughton pegged costs at $5.293 million. “The project’s not even near the end,” he said.

“I’m saying this as the chair of the finance committee, a crime like this could be $10 million as a cost to Peel by the time it’s all said and done.”

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