Saturday, May 18, 2024

Police have charged nine individuals in connection with the $20 million gold heist at Pearson airport, with some linked to U.S. gun trafficking.

Peel Regional Police disclosed that nine individuals, including Air Canada personnel, are now facing charges linked to the meticulously executed $20-million gold heist at Toronto Pearson Airport, which took place precisely one year ago.

The arrests were announced jointly by Peel Regional Police and the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau during a press briefing on Wednesday. Dubbed “Project 24K,” the collaborative investigation signifies 24 carats of gold.

Among those implicated are 25-year-old Durante King-Mclean, 34-year-old Prasath Paramalingam, and 36-year-old Archit Grover, all hailing from Brampton, along with others. King-Mclean and Grover are currently wanted across Canada.

Law enforcement verified that certain individuals, including King-Mclean, Paramalingam, and Grover, have been indicted in the U.S. for their involvement in an international firearms trafficking conspiracy.

U.S. authorities intervened in September 2023, several months following the gold heist at Pearson Airport, when King-Mclean was stopped in Pennsylvania for suspected motor vehicle violations. Upon fleeing the scene, officers discovered King-Mclean’s rental vehicle containing 65 firearms allegedly intended for illegal smuggling into Canada. Notably, two of these firearms were fully automatic, classified as machine guns under federal law, and 11 were identified as stolen.

The U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed Paramalingam’s role in the alleged firearm trafficking with King-Mclean, tracing back to April 2023, coinciding with the timeframe of the Pearson gold heist. It is alleged that Paramalingam facilitated King-Mclean’s illegal entry into the U.S. and arranged financing for the purchase of firearms, sourced from Florida, Georgia, and elsewhere.

Grover and Edwards face charges as accessories after the fact for purportedly aiding King-Mclean, including concealing evidence related to his attempted gun smuggling and furnishing co-conspirators with information.

Regarding the 2023 gold heist at Pearson Airport, the flight landed shortly before 4 p.m. on April 17, with shipments deposited at an Air Canada warehouse approximately two hours later. Peel Regional Police tracked down a transport truck carrying the stolen gold, driven by King-Mclean. The gold was found to be fashioned into bracelets and other items, with approximately $430,000 in Canadian currency seized as suspected proceeds from its sale.

A lawsuit filed by Brink’s against Air Canada alleges that a thief, presenting a forged document, managed to collect around $23.8 million worth of goods from a holding facility at Pearson Airport. Air Canada refutes the claims, stating it had not insured the valuable cargo and denying any negligence in handling the situation.

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