HMCS Saskatoon continues war on drug trafficking

Crewmembers from HMCS Saskatoon load a cargo net with illicit drugs seized for transfer to a USCG ship during Op CARIBBE.

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HMCS Saskatoon, in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), seized approximately 660 kg of cocaine in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Central America on March 12.

For the second time in 12 months, HMCS Saskatoon deployed February 20 on Operation CARIBBE, the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel and its crew are fulfilling Canada’s commitment to Op MARTILLO, the U.S.-led multinational effort among Western Hemisphere and European nations aimed at drug interdiction and counter smuggling operations in the area.

“By preventing the flow of illicit drugs and denying unlawful access to the sea, our sailors are effectively interrupting a major funding source for organized crime,” said Lieutenant-Commander Todd Bacon, Commanding Officer of HMCS Saskatoon. “Our mission success during these operations is a result of the continued support our sailors receive from their family, friends and colleagues back home.”

On March 19, 2016, Saskatoon assisted members of the USCG in the seizure of 10 bales of cocaine weighing approximately 360 kilograms. The drugs had been dumped in the water by a fishing boat before it fled the scene. That bust was part of the Royal Canadian Navy’s contribution to the seizure and disruption of 5570 kg of cocaine and 1520 kg of marijuana in 2016, and 66 metric tonnes of cocaine and four metric tonnes of marijuana over the past 10 years.

Canadian warships deployed on Op CARIBBE, along with CP-140 Aurora aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force, act in a support role locating and tracking vessels of interest. The annual operation directly supports the Canadian Armed Forces’ mission to defend against threats and security challenges to Canada’s international defence and security partners.

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