HMCS Edmonton assists in drug seizures

Photo by MAPAC Imaging

Photo by MAPAC Imaging


HMCS Edmonton assisted the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the disruption of three separate illicit drug shipments from Nov. 15 to 18, in international waters off the Pacific Coast of Central America. The combined weight of the disrupted drug shipments, confirmed to be cocaine by the USCG, was an estimated 2,120 kg.

In each instance, the collaborative efforts of the Royal Canadian Navy, USCG Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET), USCG cutters, and USCG aircraft led to the disruptions. Most of the cocaine from each disruption was recovered from the ocean after being jettisoned by suspected smugglers in panga-style fishing vessels. In all cases, a USCG aircraft provided observation and vectoring information to teams deployed in rigid-hulled inflatable boats, and USCG cutters served to house and transport the suspected smugglers who were apprehended.

Edmonton’s interceptions this week are the result of the crew’s focused training in advance of deployment and tireless effort while deployed,” said Lieutenant-Commander Lucas Kenward, Commanding Officer HMCS Edmonton. “I am incredibly proud of their efforts to date. Edmonton has demonstrated the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to communicate, share information, and seamlessly integrate with the maritime patrol aircraft and surface units of our USCG and USN allies to combat narcotics trafficking in the Eastern Pacific.”

In total, 32 bales of cocaine were recovered during three disruptions, weighing an estimated 1,510 kg, while an estimated 610 kg of cocaine were lost to sea despite an extensive search. A total of seven suspected smugglers were also apprehended by the USCG.

In the Nov. 15 incident, a total of one bale of cocaine weighing an estimated 40 kg was recovered from the ocean, with an estimated 610 kg lost to sea, despite a 10-hour search by HMCS Edmonton. A panga-style fishing vessel was boarded by a USCG LEDET team and four suspected smugglers were apprehended. They were eventually transferred to a USCG cutter.

In the Nov. 17 incident, a total of 16 bales of cocaine weighing an estimated 760 kg were recovered from the ocean. A panga-style fishing vessel was boarded by a USCG LEDET team and three suspected smugglers were apprehended and subsequently transferred to a USCG cutter.

In the Nov. 18 incident, a total of 15 bales of cocaine weighing an estimated 710 kg were recovered from the ocean. A panga-style fishing vessel evaded capture after jettisoning its cargo.

The seized substances all tested positive for cocaine by the USCG.

Aircraft involved in the disruptions included USCG HC-130J fixed-wing aircraft and USCG MH-65 helicopters.

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