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Encrypted messages between suspects of Toronto Pearson Airport gold heist revealed in U.S. court documents

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U.S. court documents are offering a glimpse into the communications of two of the men facing charges in connection with Canada’s largest gold heist last April.

The details are outlined in a U.S. indictment filed against one of the accused, Durante King-McLean, 25, of Brampton, as part of a firearms trafficking case in Pennsylvania.

King-McLean is one of ten individuals charged or identified as suspects by Peel Regional Police (PRP) in the heist, which saw 60,000 gold bars, valued at approximately $20 million, stolen after arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport on April 17, 2023 aboard an Air Canada flight.

READ MORE: Video shows Toronto Pearson airport heist suspect taking off with more than $22M in gold, cash

Police have alleged King-McLean was the driver of the van that transported the gold, of which less than $100,000 has been recovered so far. At a press conference to announce the criminal charges, police alleged that Officials said the van’s driver presented a doctored waybill in order to collect the bars.

King-McLean was arrested about six months later, in Franklin County, where police said they seized over 60 weapons from his vehicle. He is facing charges of smuggling in connection with the incident and remains in U.S. custody. Police have said they believe the heist and the weapons seizure are linked.

According to the court documents filed in Pennsylvania in April, King-McLean frequently utilized the encrypted messaging application Threema to communicate with 35-year-old Prasath Paramalingam, also facing charges in the case, in the aftermath of the gold heist. The documents allege that those communications included arrangements to transfer cash and make travel plans within the U.S.

In April, Paramalingam was charged with accessory after the fact by Peel police in connection with the incident. 

Pearson suspects

‘Get it… Good to go.’

On May 22, 2023, about a month after the heist, Paramalingam wrote in a message on Threema, outlined in the indictment, that he was “going to leave Portugal to get cash for King-McLean.”

The next day, the document states Paramalingam sent photographs of large wads of Canadian cash, bundled with rubber bands, before flying from Toronto to New York to make the delivery.

“Just picking up the change for you,” a corresponding message read. “Going to get the change exchanged into USD.”

“The funds are here,” Paramalingam wrote in a message two days later, on May 25, using the online pseudonym, ‘Stunner.’ Paramalingam then flew back to Toronto, according to the document.

The correspondence continued and according to the documents, by mid-June, Paramalingam, now using the name ‘sristar16,’ facilitated the rental of an Airbnb for King-McLean in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A few weeks later, on Aug. 8, the two sent messages back and forth regarding the purchase of several firearms, the documents state. After an apparent price of ‘3500’ was agreed upon, Paramalingam sent a message that said, “Get it… Good to go gtg.”

That same month, in a text message with a woman who is charged with being an accessory after the fact in the guns case, King-Mclean discussed acquiring 45 ‘sticks,” according to the documents.

In response, the woman sent a message expressing concern over the possibility of King-Mclean “getting pulled.”

In late August, King-Mclean met up with an individual in Atlanta, Ga. who rented a storage facility. According to the document, King-Mclean was seen at the facility with a backpack that would later be recovered from his truck with “over 30 firearms” inside.

On Sept. 2, 2023, King-Mclean was stopped by U.S. police in Franklin County and arrested. Sixty-five weapons, including two fully automatic Glock machine guns, were allegedly found in his vehicle. The document states that eleven of the guns were allegedly stolen and that at least one of them had its serial number “removed, altered, and obliterated.”

King McLean is scheduled to be tried on the smuggling charges this July in Harrisburg, Penn. McLean remains in custody pending his trial. 

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