HMCS Calgary involved in marijuana seizure

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Article / October 10, 2014

By SLt Ellie Aminaie

Merely 2 hours after departing San Diego harbour to commence an eight-day deployment on Operation CARIBBE with the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS), HMCS Calgary was directed to investigate a small suspicious vessel (panga) in international waters approximately 100 NM southwest of the United States – Mexico border.

Along with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutters Active and Haddock, and a USCG C-130 Hercules aircraft on station, Calgary went in pursuit of the vessel. As this was a joint interagency operation, Calgary had the US Coast Guard and a Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) embarked. The Hercules provided reports on the panga and tracked her position while Calgary closed the location of the vessel at full speed. As Calgary was launching her Barracuda and dispatching the LEDET team, the USCGC Active also had her team dispatched to approach the vessel of interest.

Calgary arrived on scene and sighted numerous bales floating in the water; the bales were suspected to contain contraband. The LEDET was quickly dispatched to recover the bales and investigate the contents. Twenty-two bales were recovered (with an additional 28 in the panga) and the contents were confirmed to be marijuana, totaling approximately 1,200 pounds.

Shortly after embarking the LEDET crew, we were presented with an opportunity to conduct trans-national maritime interdiction operations. I was impressed by how seamless the interoperability between the two units was, and it is a true testament to the great cooperation with our partners to the south,” said Commander John Wilson, Commanding Officer of HMCS Calgary. “With such a great start to Operation CARIBBE, HMCS Calgary is proudly representing the Royal Canadian Navy. It was a great day for the whole ship’s company to be a part of the frontline stopping the flow of narcotics and keeping it off the streets,” he said.

Calgary is conducting surveillance patrols off the coast of Mexico with a USCG law enforcement detachment embarked as part of Operation CARIBBE. Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s support to Operation MARTILLO, a US Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) operation, subordinate to US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). This multinational, joint, combined, and interagency effort by the nations of the Western Hemisphere and Europe prevents illicit trafficking in the Caribbean basin, the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the littoral waters of Central America.

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