Six Arrested, Three At Large, For Allegedly Executing Canada’s Largest Gold Heist, Authorities Say

Screenshot/YouTube/Peel Regional Police

John Oyewale Contributor
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Canadian law enforcement arrested six men and issued warrants for three others still at large on suspicion of executing Canada’s largest gold heist, authorities said Wednesday.

A consignment of 6,600 pure gold bars collectively worth CA$ 20 million ($14.5 million) as well as CA$ 2.5 million ($1.8 million) in foreign currency arrived by air at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Ontario on April 17, 2023, Peel Regional Police (PRP) in Ontario said in a statement. A driver of a five-ton truck, later identified as Durante King-Mclean, allegedly presented a fraudulent airway bill to an Air Canada cargo employee, who then approved the shipment to be loaded from the warehouse onto the truck, PRP Deputy Sergeant Mike Mavity said at a press conference.

King-Mclean’s truck was caught on surveillance video allegedly driving out of the airport complex and through various routes until it entered a rural area and was lost to surveillance cameras, Mavity told reporters. The money was not reported missing until nearly 24 hours later, according to the PRP statement.

Employees of the Canadian logistics company Brink’s Canada arrived several hours after the alleged heist to receive the shipment, only to find it missing. The alleged gold heist was not only the largest ever in Canada but also the sixth-largest in world history, PRP Deputy Chief of Investigations and Emergency Services Nick Milinovich told reporters.

“This story is a sensational one, and one which, probably, we jokingly say, belongs in the Netflix series, or something greater than that,” PRP Chief Nishan Duraiappah told reporters.

Investigators checked over 225 businesses and residences to recover the allegedly stolen gold, according to Mavity. About 37 search warrants yielded CA$ 430,000 (about $312,000), which investigators believe to be part of the profit from the sale of the allegedly stolen gold.

Investigators also recovered six gold bracelets collectively worth over $89,000; smelting pots, casts and molds allegedly used to convert the gold into different forms; and debt lists showing names of alleged recipients of financial proceeds from the sale of the gold, Mavity said. One list bore a total sum of CA$ 9.943 million (about $7.2 million) and the other CA$ 10.023 million (about $7.3 million), according to pictures shown during the press conference. (RELATED: US Marine Arrested After Allegedly Stealing $500,000 In Jewelry)

Six Canadians, including an Air Canada employee, were arrested, conditionally released and are due to appear in court for 19 charges, the PSP statement said. One of the arrested individuals was also a jewelry store owner, Mavity said. Three others, including another Air Canada employee, are still at large.

King-Mclean illegally entered the U.S. from Canada and allegedly fled on foot during a late-night traffic stop, Special Agent in Charge Eric J. DeGree of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Philadelphia Field Division told reporters. Pennsylvania State Police said they found 65 Canada-bound illegal firearms in his rental car, including 11 allegedly stolen guns and two weapons allegedly converted into fully automatic machine guns.

A U.S. Federal Grand Jury indicted King-Mclean for allegedly conspiring to illegally traffick the firearms into Canada, DeGree added.

“This is also a story about reverse alchemy … this isn’t just about gold, it is about how gold becomes guns,” Peel Regional Chair and PRP Service Board Chair Iannica said at the press conference.

Authorities were able to identify King-Mclean through a forensic examination of the allegedly fraudulent airway bill, in addition to other techniques, Mavity said.

“What a great day for public safety … These criminals thought they were more sophisticated than the police. They were wrong,” Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ontario, told reporters.