Canadian warships help the United States Coast Guard counter illicit trafficking in eastern Pacific Ocean with drug seizures totaling nearly USD $44M

News release

April 12, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Her Majesty’s Canadian ships (HMCS) Brandon and Saskatoon, in partnership with embarked United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET) 103 and 108, seized 1,120 kg of cocaine and 100 lbs of marijuana during drug interdictions in the eastern Pacific Ocean on March 21 and 23, 2021.

On March 21, 2021, HMCS Brandon interdicted a vessel reported by a United States Navy (USN) P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), and members of the ship’s embarked USCG LEDET 103 conducted a Right of Visit boarding. Three suspected smugglers and 870 kg of cocaine were found aboard the vessel and turned over to the USCG.

On March 23, 2021, HMCS Saskatoon interdicted a vessel reported by a USN P-3 Orion MPA, and members of the ship’s embarked USCG LEDET 108 conducted a Right-of-Visit boarding. Four suspected smugglers, 250 kg of cocaine and 100 lbs of marijuana were found aboard.

In both cases, USCG Cutter Forward was directed to the location to seize the illicit substances and detain the suspected smugglers.

Operation CARIBBE is Canada's participation in the U.S.-led, enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Under this operation, Canadian Armed Forces ships and aircraft deploy to the region on a rotational basis to support Joint Interagency Task Force South with disrupting trafficking in international waters and airspace.

Quotes

The ship’s company of HMCS Brandon is proud to see mission success on Operation CARIBBE in partnership with our allies, the USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 103. This is a concrete way of showing what the Navy can do for Canada. It’s a mission that demonstrates the Navy’s capability in a tangible way and creates real results that we can all be proud of. Disrupting the flow of illicit narcotics destined for North America has a ripple effect that interrupts the flow of money for criminal organizations. This mission is about increasing security for Canadians and North Americans.”

Lieutenant-Commander Maude Ouellet-Savard, Commanding Officer HMCS Brandon

“I am very proud of the crew of HMCS Saskatoon, including USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 108, for their tireless efforts throughout Operation CARIBBE. It is because of their diligence and professionalism that we have been successful in demonstrating Canada’s interoperability and strong relationship with partner nations. Disrupting the flow of illicit narcotics destined for North America is a tangible way that the Royal Canadian Navy can support Canadians at home.”

Lieutenant-Commander Nadia Shields, Commanding Officer HMCS Saskatoon

“We’re very pleased with this successful drug interdiction. Working closely with our allies, the Royal Canadian Navy, this was a successful operation from start to finish.”

Lieutenant Koachar Mohammad, Officer in Charge, USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 103

Quick facts

  • A total of 39 bales were seized, weighing 1,120 kg. The bales tested positive for cocaine by the U.S. Coast Guard. Additionally, 45 kg of marijuana was seized.

  • These efforts disrupted an estimated value of approximately USD $43.4M worth of cocaine and USD $225,000 of marijuana.

  • In total, around 1,980 kg of cocaine have been seized under Operation CARIBBE this year, disrupting the flow of illicit substances destined for North.

  • The Canadian Armed Forces has conducted Operation CARIBBE on both coasts since 2006, in support of and partnership with U.S Joint Interagency Task Force South.

  • Two Royal Canadian Navy warships are currently deployed on Operation CARIBBE in the Pacific: HMC Ships Brandon and Saskatoon. Each ship has an embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment that conducts boarding operations and helps prepare legal cases for prosecution in the U.S.

Associated links

Contacts

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

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