Whitehorse Assists USCG in Drug Bust
HMCS Whitehorse, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, assisted with the interception of more than 5200 kg of cocaine in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Costa Rica as part of Operation CARIBBE in early March.
The crew of a coastal freighter began throwing bales of contraband overboard when the USS Gary, patrolling the area with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) aboard, approached the vessel.
HMCS Whitehorse and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell were called in to join the operation.
A boarding and search of the suspect vessel by the USCG LEDET embarked with HMCS Whitehorse and USS Gary did not reveal any additional drugs, but the cocaine retrieved from the sea by the ships’ crews totaled approximately 5284 kg.
The entire operation lasted more than three days. The seizure could not be divulged until now to avoid jeopardizing the investigation into the matter.
This is the largest of three narcotics interceptions in 2015 for Canadian Armed Forces assets deployed on Operation CARIBBE, and the second largest recorded in our history of the operation, surpassed only by HMCS St. John’s which, in 2011, assisted the USCG in seizing 6750 kg of cocaine.
Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s contribution to Operation MARTILLO – a multinational, joint, combined, and interagency effort by the nations of the Western Hemisphere and Europe to prevent illicit trafficking in the Caribbean basin, the eastern Pacific Ocean and the littoral waters of Central America.
A previous HNLMS Karel Doorman is seen enroute to Montreal in 1961. Current HNLMS Karel Doorman, a Joint Support Ship (JSS), a type of ship that should have been in service with the RCN by now, will be visiting Montreal and Norfolk at the end of this month.