Charges and arrest warrants issued in Air Canada gold heist

by Derek Cloutier

Ontario’s Peel Regional Police (PRP) have charged or issued warrants for nine individuals they believe were involved in the Air Canada gold heist at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport last year.

PRP investigators also seized one kilogram of gold worth approximately $89,000 believed to be from the theft, smelting equipment, and approximately $434,000 Canadian currency.

“Our investigators and entire service recognized the heightened interest and impact this incident had in our community,” Nishan Duraiappah, Peel Regional Police chief, said in a release.

“We immediately deployed the necessary resources to address and ensure arrests are made in this complex and multi-faceted investigation that crossed international borders. I commend the incredible work done by our investigators, the ATF, other law enforcement partners, and our community for working together to identify and arrest those responsible for this brazen crime.”

On April 17, 2023, at 3:56 p.m., a flight landed at Pearson International Airport from Zurich, Switzerland, with a cargo containing 6,600 bars of .9999 per cent pure gold, weighing 400 kilograms, valued at more than $20 million and CAD$2.5 million worth in foreign currency. Shortly after landing, it was offloaded and transported to a separate location on airport property.

On April 18, 2023, at 2:43 a.m., the cargo was reported missing to Peel Regional Police.

PRP started the investigation, which has crossed borders, and has been working collaboratively with the Philadelphia Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

PRP and ATF have made significant progress in the investigation. ATF has arrested one individual in the U.S. who had 65 illegal firearms in his possession, two of which had been modified to have fully automatic capabilities. Five of the 65 handguns are known as ‘ghost guns,’ meaning that they were not serialized and, therefore, are untraceable.

The nine people identified by PRP as being involved in the heist have 19 charges against them.

The following individuals were arrested and charged:

Parmpal Sidhu, a 54-year-old man from Brampton and an Air Canada employee:

  • Theft Over $5,000
  • Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence

Amit Jalota, a 40-year-old man from Oakville:

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (X2)
  • Theft Over $5,000
  • Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence

Ammad Chaudhary, a 43-year-old man from Georgetown:

  • Accessory After the Fact of Indictable Offence

Ali Raza, a 37-year-old man from Toronto:

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

Prasath Paramalingam, a 35-year-old man from Brampton:

  • Accessory After the Fact of Indictable Offence
  • Firearms Trafficking, Aiding and Abetting, Conspiracy (U.S. Indictment charges)

These individuals have been released on conditions and will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton at a later date.

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for the following individuals:

Simran Preet Panesar, a 31-year-old man from Brampton, a former Air Canada employee, who was employed at the time of the theft:

  • Theft Over $5,000
  • Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence

Archit Grover, a 36-year-old man from Brampton:

  • Theft Over $5,000
  • Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence
  • Firearms Trafficking Related Offence – U.S. Indictment

Arsalan Chaudhary, a 42-year-old man from Mississauga:

  • Theft Over $5,000
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (X2)
  • Conspiracy TO Commit indictable offence

Investigators urge these individuals to seek legal counsel and turn themselves into the police.

A Warrant in the 1st has been issued for:

Durante King-Mclean, a 25-year-old man from Brampton:

  • Theft Over $5,000
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

King-Mclean is currently in custody in the United States on firearms trafficking-related charges, and investigators have been in touch with him and his legal counsel.