Canadian Forces assist in seizing more than US$145M in narcotics
By Dialogo December 06, 2012
OTTAWA, Canada – Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ottawa is currently conducting a 44-day deployment in the eastern Pacific with resounding operational success.
On Nov. 28, the Esquimalt-based frigate was patrolling in international waters southeast of Isla de Coco, Costa Rica when the vessel assisted a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment team to board a suspect fishing vessel in an action that netted 36 bales of cocaine weighing 1,086 kilograms (2,394.2 pounds) with an estimated wholesale value of more than US$29 million.
Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in Operation Martillo, which focuses on curtailing illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus.
HMCS Ottawa is the latest ship deployed in Operation (Op) Caribbe, the Canadian Forces’ participation in the U.S.-led multinational effort to strengthen security in the Western Hemisphere. Under Op Caribbe, the Canadian Forces provide naval and air capabilities to support U.S. law enforcement measures against illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean Basin.
As well as warships, the Royal Canadian Air Force has also contributed to Op Caribbe by providing five CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft to fly critical surveillance sorties in the region. Between Nov. 18-29, 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 (9,479.8 pounds) with a wholesale value of more than US$116 million.
“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 the Canadian Joint Operations Command. “We are also steadfast in our commitment to build and sustain enduring relationships with our regional partners, with whom we have shared interests and security concerns.”
While deployed in Op Caribbe, RCN ships are strictly in a supportive role. While operating in international waters, their tasks are to locate, track, approach and potentially intercept suspect vessels in order to allow the USCG law enforcement detachment (LEDET) 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-terrorists 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.”