RCAF helps keep cocaine off the streets

News Article / December 15, 2017

Department of National Defence

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is wrapping up deployments on Operation Caribbe for 2017.

Working collaboratively with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the United States-led Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) over the past year, the CAF directly supported the ongoing multinational campaign to disrupt illicit trafficking.

Three Royal Canadian Navy maritime coastal defence vessels and a Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140M Aurora long-range patrol aircraft deployed to regions in the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. From November to December 2017, the Aurora provided surveillance in direct support of JIATFS.

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Saskatoon, Nanaimo, and Moncton, along with the CP-140M Aurora, assisted our partners in seizing approximately 3,947 kilograms of cocaine and disrupting* an estimated 5,104 kilograms of cocaine.

Their efforts kept an estimated $298 million (USD) of drugs off the streets.

* Note: Disruption refers to circumstances where illicit drugs do not reach their intended destination but are not formally seized. Typically this applies when suspect smugglers dispose of the drugs at sea before being intercepted.

 “The importance of the ongoing collaboration between the Canadian Armed Forces and United States partner agencies is evidenced by this year’s success of ensuring more than nine tonnes of cocaine did not reach the streets,” said Lieutenant-General Steven Bowes, the commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. “This sends a clear and strong message about our commitment to stop the illegal movement of drugs by criminal entities operating in the region.”

Operation Caribbe is Canada’s participation in the multinational, U.S.-led campaign to detect and interdict the illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons, money and people. The CAF has contributed to the seizure of more than 83 tonnes of cocaine since the operation began in 2006.

The surveillance provided by the Aurora enabled the USCG to seize approximately 2,824 kilograms of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The modernized CP-140 Aurora fulfills a multitude of roles including maritime patrol intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Its advanced sensors and communications systems make it a world-class asset for detecting illicit activity offshore.

From October to December 2017, HMCS Moncton assisted the USCG in seizing approximately 834 kilograms of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea.

From October to December 2017, HMCS Nanaimo assisted the USCG in seizing approximately 1,989 kilograms of cocaine and disrupting an estimated 750 kilograms of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

From February to April, 2017, HMCS Saskatoon assisted the USCG in seizing approximately 1,124 kilograms and disrupting an estimated 1,500 kilograms of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

“We salute the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who are exceptional professionals and valiant partners,” said Rear Admiral Todd A. Sokalzuk, the commander of United States Coast Guard District Eleven. “Once again, they contributed greatly to the important mission of stopping massive drug shipments at sea and disrupting the trans-national criminal organizations behind this destructive and illicit trade. They operated seamlessly with personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and other partner agencies and nations in the region and helped save lives by keeping tons of illegal drugs off the streets of North America.”

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