$22M Airport Gold Heist: Airline Worker Among Six Arrested, Police Allege Inside Job

Six persons have been detained in connection with last year’s multimillion-dollar gold robbery at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, authorities in Canada and the United States announced Wednesday.

Police have also issued arrest warrants for three individuals in what they call an “inside job.” All nine individuals have been charged with more than 19 offenses.

According to police, on April 17, 2023, an air cargo container containing more than 22 million Canadian dollars in gold bars and international currencies was stolen from a secure storage facility using bogus documents. The gold and money had just arrived aboard an Air Canada flight from Zurich, Switzerland.

According to investigators, at least two former Air Canada employees were involved in the audacious crime. One person is now in custody, while an arrest warrant has been issued for another.

$22M Airport Gold Heist: Airline Worker Among Six Arrested, Police Allege Inside Job

“They needed people inside Air Canada to facilitate this theft,” Detective Sgt. Mike Mavity of Peel Regional Police stated, adding that he believes this was an “inside job.”

“We appreciate the police’s serious efforts in examining this incident. We are unable to provide further comment because the issue is now before the courts. However, we can confirm, as authorities have claimed, that two of the persons identified worked for Air Canada’s cargo division at the time of the event. One had already departed the company before the arrests were revealed today, and the second had been suspended,” said Peter Fitzpatrick, an Air Canada spokeswoman.

The investigation, known as “Project 24Karat,” was carried out by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Pennsylvania Division.

According to the ATF, the truck that stole the shipping container was driven by a Canadian guy detained in Pennsylvania in September 2023 for traffic infractions. The man was in the United States illegally and fled on foot after a traffic stop after a state trooper discovered firearms in his rented car, according to reports.

“A court-authorized search warrant for the vehicle led to the recovery of those firearms that were allegedly destined to be smuggled into Canada,” said Eric DeGree, an ATF special agent who spoke at the Peel Regional Police news conference, adding that 65 firearms were prevented from “being used in any number of violent crimes.”

Police believe the sophisticated organized crime group intended to utilize the majority of the gold and cash to traffic weapons into Canada.

“We believe that they’ve melted down the gold and the profits they got from the gold they used to help finance the firearms, obviously purchasing the illegal firearms,” Mavity said. He went on to say, “We believe that’s how the gold and money has now kind of worked into the firearms trafficking aspect of the investigation” .

According to Canadian and US officials, the inquiry is still ongoing, with only a fraction of the stolen gold bars and cash recovered. After executing a search warrant in Ontario, police claim they discovered five crudely melted gold bangles valued at around $90,000.

“This was the largest gold heist in Canadian history; reportedly, it’s the sixth largest in world crime history,stated Deputy Police Chief Nick Milinovich.

“I never expected they’d be dealing with the largest gold robbery in Canadian history; it’s like something out of Ocean’s Eleven or CSI. But these crooks believed they were more skilled than the police; they were mistaken,” stated Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, Ontario.

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