Smugglers stymied by HMCS Toronto

HMCS Toronto naval boarding party

Members of HMCS Toronto’s naval boarding party board a suspected drug smuggling vessel in the Arabian Sea region on Jan. 17 during Operation Artemis.

The crew of HMCS Toronto made yet another drug bust after intercepting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean as part of Operation Artemis.

Roughly 40 nautical miles off the coast of Tanzania, navy personnel boarded the vessel and found 265 bags of heroin weighing in at 280kg.

Cdr Mathew Bowen, Commanding Officer of Toronto, credited the allied nature of Operation Artemis to the success of the seizure.

“It is the ongoing collaboration with our multinational partners that enabled us to achieve a positive outcome in seizing illegal narcotics during our latest boarding,” he says.

This latest seizure brings the total narcotics seized by Toronto to a staggering 8.5 metric tonnes in 12 months, including seizures of cocaine, heroin, and hashish.

The seizures have all been a part of Operation Artemis, the Canadian Armed Forces’ current participation in counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea.

Toronto has been deployed on Operation Artemis since January of last year; it has been a busy year for the Halifax-based patrol frigate.

In March the crew seized 500kg of heroin valued at $100 million. A series of interdictions between May and June resulted in the seizure of an additional seven tonnes of narcotics including heroin and hashish.

Then in October the crew made another bust, uncovering a shipment of 180kh of heroin off of Cape Horn.

According to Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, Toronto’s highly successful deployment has struck a heavy blow against narcotics smuggling.

“I commend the crew of the HMCS Toronto,” says Nicholson. “Their tireless work with our allies in the Combined Maritime Forces has lead to the interception of tonnes of illegal narcotics shipments which would otherwise fund terrorist organizations.”

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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