HMCS Edmonton, USCG Seize Over 1.1 Tonnes of Cocaine

Canadian Ship (HMCS) Edmonton, along with a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CP-140 Aurora, assisted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in seizing more than 1.1 tonnes of cocaine over two days in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

During a search of a suspect vessel on Friday, October 25, crew members from HMCS Edmonton and her embarked U.S. Law Enforcement Detachment Team uncovered 639 kilograms of cocaine. Two days later, on Sunday, October 27, the same team tracked and boarded another suspect vessel, seizing 468 kilograms of cocaine from the vessel and from bags that were jettisoned into the water by the vessel’s crew. The two boardings occurred without incident and the narcotics seized will be destroyed.

 “Taking part in joint operations with our allies helps keep illicit drugs from entering Canada, and has a significant impact on the safety of our citizens,” said the Honourable. Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. “I am proud of the significant contribution of our Canadian Armed Forces to this critical mission and their service to Canada.”

In both cases, the initial detection of the suspect vessel was made by a CP-140 Aurora aircraft. As Canada’s only strategic maritime surveillance aircraft, the CP-140 Aurora is often used to patrol Canada’s coastlines, safeguarding its waters from foreign threats. Capable of flying more than 9000 kilometres —or 5000 nautical miles—without refuelling, this multi-purpose aircraft is ideal for a variety of operations.

 “With these seizures, HMCS Edmonton and her crew, in a joint effort with our maritime patrol aircraft, validate the excellent reputation of the Canadian Armed Forces in their work to suppress illicit trafficking,” said Lieutenant-General Stu Beare, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. “Our air and naval assets are once again clearly demonstrating that we are highly capable of working side-by-side with our allies, combating transnational organized crime and protecting Canadians.”

HMCS Edmonton and her sister ship, HMCS Yellowknife, both based at Esquimalt, British Columbia, as well as a RCAF CP-140 Aurora aircraft, based at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, are currently deployed on Operation Caribbe.

 “I continue to be impressed with the excellence at sea demonstrated by our sailors who conduct maritime security operations in support of key partnerships in the Americas,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy. “Their success at sea is a testament to our capability, proving that our ships and their crew, small or large, are among the best in the world at conducting operations such as this.”

Operation Caribbe is Canada’s contribution to Operation Martillo, a U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South-led interagency and multinational effort among Western Hemisphere and European nations, designed to improve regional security and deter criminal activity. Canada has deployed naval and air assets on Operation Caribbe since 2006.

Press Release,November 4, 2013