East Coast warship scores fourth drug bust

Lt(N) Greg Walker with seized narcotics

Lt(N) Greg Walker, Combat Systems Engineering Officer aboard HMCS Toronto, stands with seized narcotics primed for explosive destruction. The massive haul of seized narcotics is Toronto’s fourth major interdiction in two months.

HMCS Toronto
successfully disrupted its fourth narcotics shipment in two months as part of ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea.

During the search and inspection of a vessel by the ship’s naval boarding team on May 23, Toronto’s crew recovered approximately 300 kilograms of heroin. The narcotics were recovered without incident and will be destroyed.

“The success of this operation truly shows the level of cohesion between the ship and our partners,” said Commander Jeff Hamilton, Commanding Officer of HMCS Toronto.

“Toronto continues to operate effectively with our Combined Task Force 150 partners to combat transnational criminal and terrorist organizations at all levels, ensuring the seas remain open and secure for legitimate purposes.”

Since ship and crew departed Halifax in January, Toronto has recovered roughly 1,300 kilograms of narcotics. On March 29, a massive narcotics shipment in the Indian Ocean was disrupted when the ship’s naval boarding team recovered approximately 500 kilograms of heroin. The crew recovered 317 kilograms on May 6, and an additional 195 kilograms on May 10.

Narcotics smuggling in the Arabian Sea and surrounding region is a recognized source of funding for terrorist organizations. By patrolling some of the world’s most important shipping routes, coalition ships are denying financial resources to extremist groups, and helping to keep drugs off of Canada’s streets.

“I continue to be impressed with HMCS Toronto’s efforts in the Arabian Sea region. Over the course of their deployment they have consistently made a valuable contribution to the international fight against terrorism,” said Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “Their dedication to Canada, allies and regional partners has been second-to-none.”

Toronto is deployed on Operation Artemis, Canada’s contribution to Combined Task Force 150, a multinational maritime task force combating terrorism across the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Oman. As part of this multinational force, Toronto works alongside coalition partners to promote security, stability, and prosperity in an area that spans over two million square miles, and encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping routes connecting the Far East to Africa, Europe, and North America. The region hosts more than 23,000 shipping movements per year, and is one of three task forces commanded by Combined Maritime Forces, a naval partnership comprising 29 nations.

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