Canada gold heist investigation leads to several arrests: ‘This story is a sensational one’

Nine people are facing charges after what police are calling the biggest gold theft in Canada’s history. 

Peel Regional Police said on Wednesday that 6,600 gold bars that were worth more than $14.5 million (20 million Canadian dollars) and $1.8 million (CA$2.5 million) in foreign currencies were stolen. 

The gold was melted down and used to purchase illegal firearms, police said. 

Air Canada employee Parmpal Sidhu, 54, from Brampton, Ontario; jewelry store owner Ali Raza, 37, from Toronto; Amit Jalota, 40, an Oakville, Ontario resident; Ammad Chaudhary, 43, from Georgetown, Ontario and Prasath Paramalingam, 35, from Brampton are among those that have been arrested so far.

"This story is a sensational one and which probably, we jokingly say, belongs in a Netflix series," Peel Regional Chief Nishan Duraiappah said.


Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah speaks flanked by investigators and the truck used in the robbery. Peel Regional Police and the US Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau announced details and arrests made concerning the theft of 20 million dollars

What happened on April 17, 2023? 

Gold bars weighing 923 pounds (419 kilograms), and foreign currency, ordered from a refinery in Zurich, Switzerland, were transported to the haul of an Air Canada flight on April 17, 2023. 

Later that afternoon, a truck driver arrived at the airline’s cargo warehouse and produced a fake bill that was given to an airline warehouse attendant.  

A bill for seafood that was picked up the day before was used to pick up the gold, said Peel Regional Detective Sgt. Mike Mavity. 

The duplicate bill was printed off at the Air Canada warehouse. 

Brinks, an American cash handling company, arrived at the warehouse that same day to pick up the gold and currency, but were told that it had all gone missing. 

"I don’t think I ever imagined they would have to deal with the largest gold heist in Canadian history," said Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ontario. "It’s almost out of an 'Ocean’s Eleven' movie or CSI."

What was recovered? 

Peel Regional Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich said only 90,000 Canadian dollars (65,000 USD) of the more than 20 million Canadian dollars has been recovered. 

Investigators seized six crudely made gold bracelets and dozens of firearms, including two fully automatic weapons and five guns that were untraceable. 

"I'm proud to say that we successfully put an international gun trafficking operation out of business. We kept 65 firearms off the streets of Canada and prevented them from being used in any number of crimes," U.S. ATF Special Agent Eric DeGree said.

Additionally, smelting pots and cast molds and a truck that investigators said was believed to be used during the heist were taken into evidence. 

Suspects are still at large

Police are searching for former Air Canada manager Simran Preet Panesar, 31, from Brampton as well as Archit Grover, 36, from Brampton and Arsalan Chaudhary, 42, from Mississauga Ontario. 

Mavity said the truck driver that allegedly picked up the gold, Durante King-Mclean, a 25-year-old from Brampton, is currently in custody in the U.S. on firearms and trafficking related charges. 

DeGree, said King-Mclean was arrested in Pennsylvania after a traffic stop and that led to the seizure of 65 illegal firearms that were allegedly destined to be smuggled into Canada. DeGree said he tried to flee after police discovered the firearms in his rental car.

Brinks sued Air Canada

According to the Brinks' filing last year, a thief walked away with the costly cargo after presenting a fake document at an Air Canada warehouse on April 17. 

In a Nov. 8 statement of defense, Air Canada rejected "each and every allegation" in the Brinks lawsuit, saying it fulfilled its carriage contracts and denying any improper or "careless" conduct. 

The country’s largest airline also said Brinks failed to note the value of the haul on the waybill — a document typically issued by a carrier with details of the shipment — and that if Brinks did suffer losses, a multilateral treaty known as the Montreal Convention would cap Air Canada’s liability. 

In Federal Court filings that claim breach of contract and millions of dollars in damages, Brinks said an "unidentified individual" gained access to the airline’s cargo warehouse and presented a "fraudulent" waybill shortly after an Air Canada flight from Zurich landed at Pearson. 

The statement of the claim said the staff then handed over 400 kilograms of gold in the form of 24 bars plus nearly $2 million in cash to the thief, who promptly "absconded with the cargo."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.