9 arrests made in $14.8 million gold heist at Toronto airport, only fraction recovered


(TORONTO) — Nine people have been arrested and search warrants are out for three others in last year’s $14.77 million (20 million Canadian dollars) gold heist from the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canadian officials announced Wednesday.

Police have only recovered six pure gold bracelets worth over $65,000 — a fraction of the gold that was stolen from a holding cargo facility last April. Authorities announced the arrests on the one-year anniversary of the heist.

Police say 6,600 bars of pure gold weighing over 400 kilograms and foreign cash amounting to around $1.8 million were stolen in the heist. They believe that the thieves melted down the gold, sold it and then used the profits to purchase illegal firearms as part of a trafficking operation, Peel Regional Police Detective Sgt. Mike Mavity said at a press conference Wednesday.

Police have seized $312,000 worth of cash, which they believe are some of the profits suspects made after selling the gold. Police also seized smelting pots, casts and molds, which they believe were used to change the composition of the gold bars, according to Mavity.

They also found two lists accounting for $7.21 million and $10.23 million at two separate locations.

“A common term in drug trafficking investigations, we believe these lists actually show where the money was distributed when the gold was sold by the suspects,” Mavity said.

In the yearlong investigation, authorities say they have have executed 37 search warrants and interviewed over 50 people. They have brought 19 charges against individuals in this case.

Canadian police worked in cooperation with the Philadelphia Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which arrested one individual in the U.S. who had 65 illegal firearms in his possession.

He was stopped during a routine traffic stop, which resulted in his arrest. He was later identified as the driver of the truck during the heist, police said.

Police are still searching for a former Air Canada employee, who they say helped the thieves, and two others involved.

The gold and foreign currency stolen in the heist were ordered from a refinery in Zurich. They had been transported on an Air Canada flight to Toronto.

Shortly after the plane landed on April 17, 2023, the gold and cargo were transported from the plane to a cargo facility, Mavity said.

A suspect driving a five-ton truck arrived at the facility later that evening, providing a fraudulent airway bill to a cargo warehouse attendant and receiving the shipment. The airway bill was a duplicate of one used the previous day to pick up a shipment of seafood, Mavity said.

The container containing the gold and foreign currency was then loaded onto the truck and the suspect drove away. The container was discovered missing later that night after Brink’s Canada employees arrived to pick up the container, Mavity said.

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