Two Indian-Origin Men Among Six Arrested In Canada's $22.5 Million Gold, Cash Heist

The Canadian authorities also issued warrants for three more persons in the case, Peel Regional Police (PRP) said.

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Two Indian-Origin Men Among Six Arrested In Canada's $22.5 Million Gold, Cash Heist Photo: File Image

At least two Indian-origin men are among six persons arrested in connection with a brazen multimillion-dollar gold heist at Toronto’s main airport last year, the biggest gold theft in Canada's history.

The Canadian authorities also issued warrants for three more persons in the case, Peel Regional Police (PRP) said.

On April 17, 2023, an air cargo container carrying more than 22 million Canadian dollars’ worth of gold bars and foreign currency was stolen from a secure storage facility using fake paperwork, police say. The gold and currency had just arrived on an Air Canada flight from Zurich, Switzerland.

At least two former Air Canada employees allegedly helped in the audacious theft, police say. One is now in custody and an arrest warrant has been issued for the other.

Two persons of Indian origin--Parmpal Sidhu, 54, and Amit Jalota, 40, both from Ontario, were arrested on Wednesday along with Ammad Chaudhary, 43, Ali Raza, 37, and Prasath Paramalingam, 35.

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

The arrests were announced after a lengthy probe into the crime reported last year.

Sidhu during the time of the crime was working with Air Canada.

Besides, the police have issued Canada-wide warrants for Simran Preet Panesar, 31, from Brampton, who was also an Air Canada employee at the time of the theft; Archit Grover, 36, from Brampton and Arsalan Chaudhary, a 42-year-old man from Mississauga, the report said.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick confirmed Sidhu and Panesar's employment with the national flag carrier.

"One left the company prior to the arrests announced today and the second has been suspended," he said. "As this is now before the courts, we are limited in our ability to comment further."

Lead investigator Det.-Sgt. Mike Mavity called the daring theft from an Air Canada cargo facility the single-largest gold heist in Canadian history. He said two men who worked for the airline were instrumental in pulling it off, CBC News reported.

"They needed people inside Air Canada to facilitate this theft," Mavity said.

"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% pure gold, weighing 400 kilogrammes, valued at over 20 million dollars and CAD 2.5 million worth in foreign currency. Shortly after landing, it was offloaded and transported to a separate location on Airport property," Peel police said in a statement.

On April 18, the cargo was reported missing to Peel Regional Police.

"Peel Regional Police immediately started the investigation, which has crossed borders, and we have been working collaboratively with the Philadelphia Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)," the statement said.

Peel Regional Police and ATF have made significant progress in the investigation. ATF has arrested one individual in the United States 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. 

"Peel Regional Police (PRP) investigators also seized one kilogramme of gold worth approximately $89,000.00, believed to be from the theft, smelting equipment, and approximately $434,000 Canadian currency," the statement said.

PRP has identified and charged or issued warrants for nine individuals with over 19 charges.

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

"This investigation remains a priority for Peel Regional Police. The cross-jurisdictional boundaries will not hinder our ability to charge and arrest those responsible. We are working closely with national and international law enforcement partners to arrest those responsible and hold them accountable," Duraiappah, said.