HMCS Saskatoon seizes an estimated 660 kg of cocaine

Navy News / March 30, 2017

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saskatoon, in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) seized approximately 660 kg of cocaine on March 12, 2017, in international waters in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Central America.

HMCS Saskatoon intercepted a suspicious vessel initially spotted by a maritime patrol aircraft on routine patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Saskatoon then launched a rigid hulled inflatable boat with an embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment team to halt the vessel of interest. The panga-style vessel was boarded and three suspected smugglers were apprehended by the USCG Law Enforcement Detachment. Several bales of cocaine were recovered from both the panga and the ocean after the suspected smugglers attempted to jettison their cargo.

Lieutenant-Commander Todd Bacon, HMCS Saskatoon’s Commanding Officer, says this impressive achievement comes down to preparation and teamwork. “I am extremely pleased to see that the great training the crew has received in recent months came together for a successful interdiction in support of regional stability.”

HMCS Saskatoon is currently patrolling the Eastern Pacific as part of Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s contribution to Operation MARTILLO, a United States Joint Interagency Task Force South operation to improve regional security and deter criminal activity. The Canadian Armed Forces contributes naval and air capabilities to detect and monitor suspect activities off the Pacific coast of Central America and the Caribbean.

By preventing illicit drugs from reaching their destination and denying unlawful access to the sea, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and its partners are effectively interrupting a major funding source for organized crime and terrorist networks.

This is the 11th straight year that the RCN has deployed ships on this mission to counter illicit drug trafficking in the region. Over that time, Canadian Armed Forces assets have helped to seize or disrupt approximately 66 tonnes of cocaine (66,000 kg or 145,000 lbs) and just under four tonnes of marijuana (4,000 kg or 8,800 lbs).