Navy assists in large drug bust

HMCS Ottawa’s boarding party approaches a suspect vessel

HMCS Ottawa’s Sea King helicopter and members of a U.S. Coast Guard boarding party approach a suspect vessel in international waters near Costa Rica.

Two weeks ago, while patrolling in international waters southeast of Isla de Coco, Costa Rica, HMCS Ottawa assisted a United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team in boarding a suspicious fishing vessel.

This boarding resulted in the seizure of 36 bales of cocaine weighing 1,086 kilograms, with an estimated wholesale value of more than $29 million USD.

Between Nov. 18 and 29, CP-140 Aurora crews from 19 Wing, Comox, and 14 Wing, Greenwood, assisted in seizing, through surveillance and detection, 144 bales of cocaine weighing 4,300 kilograms, with a wholesale value of more than $116 million USD. In total, more than US $145 million worth of drugs were seized.

In 2012, in addition to Ottawa, the Canadian Forces contributed five HMC ships to counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean region. Frigate HMCS St John’s, the destroyer HMCS Iroquois, the replenishment ship HMCS Preserver and two maritime coastal defence vessels, HMCS Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay all deployed to the region this year to assist in the disruption of illicit drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

While operating in international waters, their tasks are to locate, track, approach and potentially intercept suspicious vessels in order to allow the U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment personnel to board and conduct law enforcement operations.

“The Royal Canadian Navy continues to work alongside our allies and whole-of-government partners to help suppress criminal activity at sea and interrupt the flow of illicit drugs destined for our shores,” said Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “We are taking the fight to the narco-trafficker in their backyard, denying them freedom of movement at sea, enforcing the rule of law and making the streets of our Canadian cities safer for our children.”

The Royal Canadian Air Force has also contributed to Operation Caribbe by providing five CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft to fly critical surveillance sorties in the region.

“I am tremendously proud of the dedication and hard work displayed by everyone involved in this seizure,” said Commander Scott Van Will, Commanding Officer of Ottawa. “Their commitment to Canadian and North American security solidifies the many opportunities we have to partner with other nations and organizations to suppress criminal activity at sea and keep illegal drugs off our streets.”

Every year, under the coordination of Joint Interagency Task Force South, partner nations intercept and seize millions of dollars’ worth of illicit drugs, and play a major role in suppressing trafficking in international waters and airspace. Since it began in November 2006, Operation Caribbe has helped strengthen international partnerships, build partnership capacity, and demonstrate our regional commitment to combating transnational criminal organizations.


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  1. mr t says:

    thats my bros ship!

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