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9 Individuals, Together with Air Canada Employee, Arrested in $14.5 Million Gold Heist

It was a brazen theft: hundreds of gold bars and tens of millions of {dollars} in financial institution notes stolen a 12 months in the past from Toronto’s worldwide airport.

On Wednesday, Canadian authorities introduced the arrest of 9 individuals, together with an Air Canada worker, in reference to the theft of greater than 20 million Canadian {dollars}, about $14.5 million, in gold bars and a pair of.5 million {dollars}, about $1.8 million, in financial institution notes that vanished from a warehouse at Toronto Pearson Airport in April 2023.

Arrest warrants have additionally been issued for 3 different individuals, together with a supervisor on the airline.

“This story is a sensational one,” Nishan Duraiappah, chief of the Peel Regional Police, mentioned at a information convention on Wednesday, the place he stood in entrance of a truck he mentioned was used within the heist. “One we jokingly say belongs in a Netflix collection.” The Peel police are liable for regulation enforcement at Toronto’s airport.

The gold, Chief Duraiappah mentioned, was partly used to purchase weapons that have been sure for Canada. The person who drove the truck used within the gold theft was arrested in Pennsylvania in September after a police officer stopped a rental automotive he was driving for a site visitors violation and located 65 weapons, two of which have been absolutely computerized rifles. The person has been charged with conspiracy to illegally site visitors firearms into Canada.

It’s unclear if that arrest and a separate investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in america into the firearms smuggling revealed the broader theft plot. Eric DeGree, a particular agent for the A.T.F. who was on the information convention, mentioned that the company contacted the Peel police after discovering the person’s identify in a police info database.

The gold theft, which Chief Duraiappah mentioned was Canada’s largest, gave the impression to be remarkably easy. The gold and money arrived on the Toronto airport in a particular container aboard an Air Canada flight from Switzerland on April 17, 2023, and was moved to one of many airline’s warehouses.

The container held 6,600 gold bars that have been destined for a Toronto-based financial institution and financial institution notes sure for a foreign money trade.

About two hours later, a truck pushed by the person who was arrested in Pennsylvania pulled up on the warehouse. The person carried a waybill — a doc often issued by a service with particulars a few cargo — that gave him entry to the warehouse, the police mentioned.

It was really a reproduction of a waybill, printed on an Air Canada printer, for a cargo of seafood that had been picked up a day earlier.

The container with the gold bars and financial institution notes was loaded into the truck.

“They wanted individuals inside Air Canada to facilitate this theft,” Mike Mavity, a detective sergeant with the Peel police, mentioned on the information convention.

Video recordings confirmed the truck touring down Canada’s busiest freeway earlier than finally disappearing from sight in a rural space west of town.

Peel cops have been referred to as early the following morning after a Brink’s armored truck arrived with the precise waybill for the cargo of gold and financial institution notes.

The police mentioned on Wednesday that they consider the gold bars, which had serial numbers, have been all melted down and that that they had seized smelting pots. The one gold recovered, the police mentioned, was six bracelets made out of about 89,000 Canadian {dollars}’ price of pure gold. Among the many individuals arrested was the proprietor of a jewellery store in Toronto.

Throughout the information convention, the police displayed two handwritten lists that they mentioned detailed the payouts to the individuals concerned within the theft.

“This can be a story about reverse alchemy,” mentioned Nando Iannicca, the chairman of the regional authorities. “That is about how gold turns into weapons.”

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