Operation CARIBBE seizure nets HMCS Brandon 700 kg of cocaine
Article / December 19, 2016 / Project number: cjoc
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Brandon, in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), seized an estimated 700kg of cocaine off the Pacific Coast of Central America on November 5, 2016.
The cocaine was recovered after being jettisoned by a panga-style fishing vessel while a USCG HC-130 aircraft flew overhead. HMCS Brandon launched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to pursue the vessel, followed by a second RHIB to secure the 14 bales, which were later recovered by HMCS Brandon.
Midway through the afternoon on November 5, HMCS Brandon entered into a zone of interest in the international waters off the coast of Mexico, based on information provided by the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) and a USCG HC-130J aircraft that had been providing aerial surveillance. Following the launch of a pursuit-RHIB from HMCS Brandon, the crew flying the overhead aircraft witnessed the panga-style fishing vessel jettison its illicit cargo. The decision was made for the RHIB crew to continue pursuit of the panga, while the HC-130J provided overflight of the jettisoned bales of cocaine until a second RHIB could be dispatched.
The initial RHIB deployed by HMCS Brandon, which was crewed by both Royal Canadian Navy and USCG Law Enforcement Detachment members, pursued the panga with determination, reacting to intercept vectors provided by the overhead aircraft. The RHIB crew was able to maintain the chase for a long time, but the panga, now unburdened of its cargo, was able to pull away. Eventually, the pursuit was called off.
A second RHIB was launched to collect the cocaine bales once a visual confirmation of the jettisoned cocaine was made by a crew member aboard HMCS Brandon.
Lieutenant-Commander Jolene Lisi, the Commanding Officer of HMCS Brandon, was understandably proud of this seizure, and of the efforts of her crew.
“This latest seizure serves not only as a testament to the dedication and hard work by the crew of HMCS Brandon and the U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment, but to their ability to work in concert,” said LCdr Lisi. “Our efforts, both leading into this operation, and on the operation itself, have led to this interdiction, which ultimately means fewer drugs reaching our shores. I am incredibly proud of my team.”
Operation CARIBBE is Canada's participation in Operation MARTILLO, an ongoing international task force aimed at drug interdiction and counter smuggling operations in the Caribbean Sea and in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America.
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