Hmcs Brandon radio
The Operations Officer aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship BRANDON radios the on-watch Naval Combat Information Operators during a drug interdiction as part of Operation CARIBBE in the eastern Pacific Ocean on March 21, 2021. Photo Credit: Op CARIBBE PAO, HMCS BRANDON, Canadian Armed Forces photo

A pair of Canadian ships partnered in March with U.S. agencies to seize nearly $44 million USD in drugs, the Royal Canadian Navy announced Monday.

The Royal Canadian Navy says that 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 21st and 23rd, 2021.

The seizures came as part of a planned Canadian participation in a counter-narcotics operation in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean, named operation CARIBBE.

The Canadian Armed Forces has deployed ships and aircraft to these regions on a rotational basis since 2006, including the Kingston-class coastal vessels HMCS Brandon and Saskatoon from CFB Esquimalt.

HMCS Brandon interdicted a vessel suspected of smuggling on March 21st, 2021. US Coast Guard and Law Enforcement Detachment members boarded the vessel and found three suspected smugglers and 870 kg of cocaine.

“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,” said Lieutenant-Commander Maude Ouellet-Savard, Commanding Officer HMCS Brandon. 

“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.”

Two days later, HMCS Saskatoon stopped another suspected smuggling vessel. Four suspected smugglers, 250 kg of cocaine and 100 lbs of marijuana were found.

“I am very proud of the crew of HMCS Saskatoon, including USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 108, for their tireless efforts throughout Operation CARIBBE,” said Lieutenant-Commander Nadia Shields, Commanding Officer HMCS Saskatoon.

“It is because of their diligence and professionalism that we have been successful in demonstrating Canada’s interoperability and strong relationship with partner nations.”

In total, 1,120 kg of bales of cocaine were seized, valued at approximately USD $43.4M.

So far this year, operation CARIBBE has led to the seizure of around 1,980 kg of cocaine.

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