Canada Command

Canada Command
Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

February 18, 2011 10:16 ET

Canadian Forces Complete Counter-Narcotics Operation

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 18, 2011) - HMCS Toronto and two Canadian Forces CP-140 Aurora strategic surveillance aircraft return today from the Caribbean Sea, where they were busy performing counter-drug operations as part of Operation CARIBBE.

The ship, aircraft and their crews return home following a month-long deployment with the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S), during which 68 bales of cocaine, amounting to approximately 1 650 kilograms, with an estimated value of $33M, were intercepted. 

"I'm very proud of the part played by the men and women of HMCS Toronto, and our aircrews, in keeping drugs off Canadian streets," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Our sailors and air personnel are a key component of international efforts to interdict cocaine destined for North America."

This historic mission marked the first time that a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment conducted operations from Canadian Navy ships. The contingent, under command of Canada Command, was operating in direct support to the ongoing U.S.-led, multi-national effort to interdict drug trafficking in the Caribbean Basin and the East Pacific.

"Canadians can be proud of the impressive ability of their Canadian Forces to seamlessly work together with other nations and agencies to tackle challenges to Canada's security and safety before they reach our shores," said Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command. "Our ability to work closely together with the U.S. Coast Guard has enhanced our contribution to the fight against trans-national criminal organizations that threaten our society."

HMCS Toronto, supported by its ship-borne Sea King helicopter and crews, along with the Aurora crews, provided surveillance, logistics and refuelling capabilities to U.S. Coast Guard authorities. 

"This mission has provided the crew with outstanding operational training with our U.S. partners in the fight against transnational criminal organizations," said Commander Paul Forget, the Captain of HMCS Toronto. "Our primary tasks have been to assist the U.S. law enforcement authorities to locate, track, and intercept illegal activities and our actions contribute to the safety and security of Canadians at home."

Canada and other international partners have cooperated closely in multi-national drug surveillance and interdiction operations in the Caribbean Basin and East Pacific beginning in November 2006. Since its inception, Op CARIBBE units have stopped over 1 075 metric tonnes of drugs from entering Canada, the US and other nations.

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