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Canadian police have charged nine suspects in a historic $20 million airport gold heist

A year after a brutal one gold heist at Toronto airport, Nine suspects have been charged in an investigation that police said “belongs in a Netflix series.”

A total of 6,600 gold bars weighing more than 800 pounds, worth an estimated $20 million, and approximately $2.5 million in foreign currency were stolen from Toronto Pearson International Airport in April 2023. At the time, police described the case as “very rare”. Now they’re calling it the biggest gold heist in Canadian history.

In a news conference On Wednesday, police said 19 charges had been laid in the joint investigation – dubbed Project 24K – involving Peel Police and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Five suspects, including an Air Canada employee, were arrested and released on conditions. They will appear in court at a later date. A warrant was issued against another man who was also an employee of the airline at the time of the theft. In addition to the arrest warrant for the former employee, two Canada-wide arrest warrants have been issued for those who have not yet been arrested.

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Police said the gold arrived on April 17, 2023, on an afternoon flight from Zurich, Switzerland. The container containing the valuable shipment was then removed from the Air Canada aircraft and taken to a cargo facility. One of the suspects managed to gain access to the building, load the items onto a van and drive away. According to police, the driver presented a fraudulent air waybill, a document containing details of a shipment.

Arrests in 20 million gold heist at airport
Sergeant Mike Mavity of Peel Police in Canada speaks to the media about arrests made in the theft of $20 million in gold at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, as part of Project 24Karat, a joint investigation with U.S. federal agents, on April 17 2024.

Richard Lautens/Toronto star via Getty Images

Later that evening, Brink’s Canada, the company hired to transport the gold, arrived to pick up the shipment and discovered that it had already been taken. Brink’s sued Air Canada in October after the airline failed to properly secure the cargo, according to The Toronto Star newspaper.

Police said the driver of the truck was identified as 25-year-old Durante King-McLean, who is in custody in the United States. He was arrested in Pennsylvania in September after state troopers found 65 firearms in his rental car.

“We allege that some of the individuals who participated in this gold theft are also involved in aspects of the firearms trade,” said lead investigator Detective Det.-Sgt. said Mike Mavity.

Police seized six crudely made gold bracelets worth approximately $89,000 during the investigation. Mavity said melting equipment was also seized, which was used to melt the stolen gold bars and disguise them as items such as bracelets. Among those arrested is a jewelry store owner.

The theft was bigger than a 1990 robbery at Montreal’s Dorval Airport that netted $13.7 million in gold and other valuables.

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