Royal Canadian Navy sets heroin seizure record in busts

Members of HMCS Calgary stand with their record haul of 1,286 kilograms of heroin seized April 23 from a dhow during a counter-smuggling operation in the Arabian Sea while on Operation Artemis as part of Combined Task Force-150.

Members of HMCS Calgary stand with their record haul of 1,286 kilograms of heroin seized April 23 from a dhow during a counter-smuggling operation in the Arabian Sea while on Operation Artemis as part of Combined Task Force-150.

Combined Maritime Forces
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HMCS Calgary has made the largest-ever heroin bust in Combined Maritime Forces history, operating under the command of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.

The record-setting haul of 1,286 kilograms (2,835 lbs) of heroin on April 23 was achieved seven years to the day since HMAS Darwin interdicted 1,032kg (2,275 lbs) of the drug in 2014.

In addition to their record-breaking success, Calgary struck again less than 24 hours later with a second interdiction capturing 360 kgs (794 lbs) of methamphetamine.

“I’m speaking for everyone in HMCS Calgary when I say it’s a great feeling to have made two substantial busts so early into our operation,” said Commander Mark O’Donohue, Commanding Officer of Calgary. “A lot of work and coordination at both the ship level and throughout Combined Task Force-150 and the Combined Maritime Forces coalition goes into our work. It’s fantastic to see that pay off and to know we are contributing to the interruption of a revenue stream that is being used to fund terrorism.”

While operating off the coast of Oman, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) frigate intercepted two vessels suspected of smuggling. The ship’s boarding team conducted subsequent searches, uncovering the high-value contraband with a combined total worth of over $23.22 million, making a salient impact to drug trafficking, often used to finance terrorism in the region. These interdictions come less than 10 days after Calgary began operations in the region, increasing the total number of successful counter-narcotics operations under CTF-150 to 14 since the RCN took command of the task force on Jan. 27.

Members of the Naval Tactical Operations Group  boarding team search a suspicious dhow and find 360 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Members of the Naval Tactical Operations Group boarding team search a suspicious dhow and find 360 kilograms of methamphetamine.

“I could not be more pleased with HMCS Calgary’s recent success at sea,” said Commodore Daniel Charlebois, Commander of CTF-150. “Through diligent preparation and focused pre-deployment training, the Calgary team arrived in theatre in a position to immediately contribute to maritime security in a meaningful way.”

Calgary arrived in the Combined Maritime Forces area of operations as a part of Canada’s Operation Artemis on April 15. Artemis is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission to help stop terrorism and make Middle Eastern waters more secure. In 2021, CAF contributions to Operation Artemis include commanding and operating CTF-150, naval support from HMCS Calgary, and a Royal Canadian Air Force patrol aircraft.

A little more info about this overseas operation

The Combined Maritime Forces is a multinational maritime partnership, which exists to uphold the international rules-based order by countering illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promoting security, stability, and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters, which encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

CTF-150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to disrupt criminal and terrorist organizations, ensuring legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats. CTF-150 is currently commanded by the Royal Canadian Navy, which is leading the task force for the fifth time.

HMCS Calgary is a Halifax-class Royal Canadian Navy frigate. Its home port is Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, in Victoria, British Columbia.

The CP-140 is a long-range patrol aircraft used by the Canadian Armed Forces for multiple types of missions over land and water. When deployed to the United Arab Emirates, the aircraft provides critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability to Operation Artemis as part of Canada’s contribution to multinational counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism efforts under Combined Task Force-150, facilitating the identification and cueing of vessels suspected of being engaged in illicit maritime activity on the high seas.

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Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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