Crewmembers from Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Saskatoon load a cargo net with seized illicit drugs on March 13, 2017 to transfer them to a United States Coast Guard ship during Operation CARIBBE.
Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs
March 17, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saskatoon, in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) seized approximately 660 kg of cocaine on March 12, in international waters in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Central America.
HMCS Saskatoon intercepted a suspicious vessel initially spotted by a maritime patrol aircraft on routine patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean. HMCS Saskatoon then launched a rigid hulled inflatable boat with an embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment team to halt the vessel of interest. The panga-style vessel was boarded and three suspected smugglers were apprehended by the USCG Law Enforcement Detachment. Several bales of cocaine were recovered from both the panga and the ocean after the suspected smugglers attempted to jettison their cargo.
HMCS Saskatoon is currently patrolling the Eastern Pacific as part of Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s contribution to Operation MARTILLO, a United States Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) operation. Operation MARTILLO is a joint, combined, interagency and multinational effort to improve regional security and deter criminal activity. The Canadian Armed Forces contributes naval and air capabilities to detect and monitor suspect activities off the Pacific coast of Central America and the Caribbean.
“I am extremely pleased to see that the great training the crew has received in recent months came together for a successful interdiction in support of regional stability.”
Lieutenant-Commander Todd Bacon, Commanding Officer HMCS Saskatoon
- 33 bales were seized, totaling approximately 660 kg of cocaine.
- The seized bales tested positive for cocaine by USCG.
- Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s participation in the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational criminal organizations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean.
- The Canadian Armed Forces has participated in Operation CARIBBE with the United States Joint Interagency Task Force South since November 2006.