Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence
Canada Command

Canada Command

February 27, 2009 13:54 ET

CF Assist Drug Busts Valued at $272M

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2009) - Canadian Forces' Operation Caribbe is seeing some early successes in 2009 after supporting drug busts in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific Ocean that stopped some $272 million worth of cocaine from reaching the streets of North America. Since 2006, CF ships and aircraft have been participating in U.S.-led multinational counter-drug operations off the southern approaches to North America.

"One of the goals of the Canada First Defence Strategy is for Canada to be a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America. Operation Caribbe is an example of this commitment in action," said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Gateway. "Through this operation, the Canadian Forces are also contributing to the security pillar of the Government's Americas Strategy in the Western Hemisphere."

"Every day the men and women of the Canadian Forces contribute directly to the safety and security of Canadians right here at home," said Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, Commander of Canada Command. "Through a range of domestic and continental operations, the Canadian Forces are also helping to strengthen the twenty-first century defence and security architecture needed to keep Canadians secure."

The most recent Operation Caribbe success occurred on February 9 in international waters off the north-eastern coast of South America, in the Caribbean Basin. The Halifax-based frigate HMCS Montreal helped the French warship FV Ventose intercept a drug smuggler's "go-fast" boat carrying 600 kilograms of cocaine valued at $30 million. The Ventose delivered the smugglers and seized drugs to police authorities in Martinique after sinking the go-fast so it would not present a hazard to marine traffic.

On January 15, a Canadian Forces CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft helped spot and track a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) operating in international waters off the north-western Atlantic coast of South America. These low-profile boats are one of the latest methods used in the region to smuggle narcotics. The SPSS was carrying roughly seven metric tonnes of cocaine valued at $242 million. The SPSS crew and narcotics were seized and brought onboard a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, destined for Florida for prosecution. Because the SPSS vessel represented a hazard to navigation, it was sunk on the high seas by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Multinational drug surveillance and interdiction operations in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Eastern Pacific Ocean are led by U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S). International participants include Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, and France. With the collaboration of the U.S. military, international allies, and law enforcement partners, the task force stopped more than 200 metric tonnes of cocaine from entering North America in both 2007 and 2008.

Operation Caribbe is led by Canada Command, which is the Canadian Forces organization responsible for all routine and contingency Canadian Forces operations in Canada and North America. The command's Atlantic and Pacific Maritime Component Commands contribute Canadian navy warships and air force CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft to JIATF-S, offering powerful surveillance capabilities that help law enforcement authorities intercept illegal activities off North America's southern coasts.

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