Royal Canadian Navy Assists in Large Drug Bust

December 5, 2012

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec 5, 2012) - Her Majesty''s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ottawa is currently conducting a 44-day deployment in the eastern Pacific with resounding operational success. On November 28, 2012 the Esquimalt-based frigate was patrolling in international waters southeast of Isla de Coco, Costa Rica when she assisted a United States (US) 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 US $29 million. Between November 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 US $116 million. In total, more than US $145 million worth of drugs were seized.

"Working alongside our American and multinational allies, HMCS Ottawa''s successful operation demonstrates our Government''s commitment to address the illegal trafficking of drugs in the Caribbean basin", said the Honourable Peter MacKay. "I''m proud our sailors act as excellent ambassadors for our nation, for making Canadian streets safer by patrolling the seas to our south and for working with like-minded nations to better protect citizens of our continent." 

In 2012, in addition to HMCS Ottawa, the Canadian Armed Forces contributed five HMC ships to counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean region. The 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 US 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.

"We are proud to support the multinational effort in the Caribbean region to combat the trade in illicit drugs, which contributes to crime and erodes regional stability," said Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare, Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command. "We are also steadfast in our commitment to build and sustain enduring relationships with our regional partners, who share our interests and security concerns."

"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 HMCS 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.

Notes to editor / news director:

http://www.cjoc.forces.gc.ca/cont/caribbe/index-eng.asp

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cfoperations/sets/72157631787773407