An estimated 2,120 kg of cocaine was disrupted in the waters off of the Pacific Coast of Central America by Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Edmonton along with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
The drugs were disrupted on three separate shipments from Nov. 15 to 18. The disruption of these illicit drugs was due to a combined effort on the part of the Royal Canadian Navy, U.S. Coastal Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET), USCG cutters, and USCG aircraft.
“Edmonton’s interceptions this week are the result of the crew’s focused training in advance of deployment and tireless effort while deployed. I am incredibly proud of their efforts to date. Edmonton has demonstrated the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to communicate, share information, and seamlessly integrate with the maritime patrol aircraft and surface units of our USCG and USN allies to combat narcotics trafficking in the Eastern Pacific,” stated LCdr. Lucas Kenward, Commanding Officer HMCS.
The cocaine is reported as being disrupted after being jettisoned by suspected smugglers in pangs-style fishing vessels. Information gathered by the USCG aircraft led to teams being deployed in rigid-hulled inflatable boats. Aircraft involved in the disruptions included USCG HC-130J fixed-wing aircraft and USCG MH-65 helicopters.
Specifically, on the Nov. 15 incident a total of one bale of cocaine weighing an estimated 40 kg was recovered from the ocean while an estimated 610 kg was lost to the sea, despite a ten hour search by HMCS Edmonton.
On Nov. 17, a total of 16 bales of cocaine weight an estimated 760 kg were recovered from the ocean.
Again, on Nov. 18, a total of 15 bales of cocaine weight approximately 710 kg were recovered from the ocean after being jettisoned by a pangs-style fishing vessel.
From these incidents, a total of 32 bales of cocaine weighing an estimated 1,510 kg were seized while 610 kg was lost to the sea.
A total of seven suspected smugglers were apprehended by USCG cutters from all three incidents.
The disruptions took place during HMCS Edmonton’s deployment on Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s participation in a multinational campaign against illic trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
This year the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has assisted in the seizure or disruption of approximately 5,750 kg of cocaine and 1,520 kg of marijuana.