A Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Kingston-class Coastal Defence Vessel took part in a large drug bust in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Costa Rica last month. The bust was made in international waters.
The HMCS Whitehorse is currently sailing with the US Navy and the US Coast guard as part of Canada’s contribution to a multionational effort to prevent drug trafficking in the Carribean basin, the waters of Central America and the Eastern Pacific.
As the US Navy warship was approaching the freighter, the crew threw bales of cocaine overboard. The HMCS Whitehorse and the US Coast Guard vessels then joined the operation to retrieve the floating drug, which lasted three days.
A visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) party boarded the freighter but didn’t find additional bales of drugs. However, more than 5,200 kilograms of cocaine was thrown overboard and was retrieved by the Canadian and American vessels.
The National Defence and the Royal Canadian Navy did not divulgate any informations about the seizure until now to avoid complications in the ongoing investigation.
The HMCS Whitehorse is not the first Canadian vessel to intercept and seize large amount of drugs. The HMCS Toronto was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation in February after conducting more than 60 intercepts.
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, was proud of the Canadian sailors: “An honour such as this continues to demonstrate the world-class capabilities of the Royal Canadian Navy’s ships and their crews. The training and hard work of the sailors on board HMCS Toronto enabled the ship to conduct over 60 intercepts during 2013, which resulted in nine major drug seizures and the destruction of more than 8,500 kilograms of illegal narcotics.”
Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s participation in the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean basin and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
“As part of Operation CARIBBE, Canada is contributing Canadian Armed Forces ships and aircraft to Operation MARTILLO – a joint, combined and interagency effort by Canada, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom to prevent illicit trafficking in the Caribbean basin, the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the coastal waters of Central America.”
HMCS Whitehorse and HMCS Nanaimo are currently participating in Op CARIBBE. Adding to that, a CP-140 Aurora: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft is providing longe-range patrols for surveillance and reconnaissance.