HMCS Harry DeWolf’s drug busts add to smuggler blues



Members of the Royal Canadian Navy and the United States Coast Guard’s Law Enforcement Detachment recover bails of cocaine that were thrown overboard during a counter-narcotics operation. Canadian Armed Forces Imagery Technician photo.

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

HMCS Harry DeWolf and its crew continue to protect North America from illegal narcotics in the high seas.

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship participated in two interdictions and seized a combined 386 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of USD $15 million. The busts were made as part of Operation Caribbe 2022. The multinational campaign targets transnational criminal organizations and illegal narcotics shipments in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific.

The first drug bust took place on April 19 when Harry DeWolf intercepted two
vessels containing 231 kilograms of cocaine, with the help of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and United States Navy vessel USS Wichita.

Then, in the early morning hours of May 1, the ship noticed a suspicious vessel and conducted an interjection using involving the ship’s two multi-role rescue boats. This time Harry DeWolf’s crew recovered 165 kilograms of cocaine.

Arrested suspects were processed by the U.S. Law Enforcement system. Seized drugs were collected as evidence for court proceedings and will then be destroyed at a facility in the U.S.

This is Harry DeWolf’s second Op Caribbe deployment in six months.

In December, while operating in the Eastern Pacific, Harry DeWolf worked alongside USCG staff in two drug interdictions, seizing a combined 2,589 kilograms of cocaine. The ship began operating on its second Op Caribbe deployment on April 4, making its third and fourth seizures of illegal narcotics.

Harry DeWolf’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant-Commander Ryan Bell, says the ship’s crew worked diligently before interdicting the vessels.

“The successful interdiction is a tangible way of demonstrating we are protecting and safeguarding North America and society from illegal narcotics,” he said. “Achieving this success in combined operations proves allied navies can work together to realize a common goal.”

LCdr Bell says the Harry DeWolf class is designed with a variety of capabilities not present with other classes of ships, such as the two Multi Role Rescue Boats that provide flexibility in operations.

“When we had two boats pursuing the vessel simultaneously, one was able to keep up the pursuit while the other was able to recover the jettison,” said LCdr Bell.

During this deployment, Harry DeWolf and crew will also participate in U.S-led Exercise Tradewinds 2022. The annual exercise involves international and regional partners and focuses on strengthening security and safety in the Caribbean region, with an emphasis on humanitarian aid, disaster relief and counter-narcotics operations. A special focus this year will be on an amphibious landing of disaster relief support.

A member of the Royal Canadian Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Department train for boarding vessels of interest in the Atlantic Ocean during Operation Caribbe. Canadian Armed Forces Imagery Technician photo.



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