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HMCS Saskatoon helps seize 360 kilograms of cocaine off Central American coast
Following a training exercise in preparation for Operation Caribbe, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saskatoon, HMCS Edmonton and the United States Coast Guard Ship Haddock sail off the coast of San Diego on February 26, 2016. (Department of National Defence)
Kevin Menz and Julie Mireau, CTV Saskatoon
Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016 5:38PM CST
Crews aboard Canadian warship HMCS Saskatoon are being credited with seizing 360 kilograms of cocaine off the coast of Central America.
The Royal Canadian Navy ship, accompanied by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. maritime patrol planes, intercepted a fishing boat in international waters on March 19.
The boat fled and dumped its cargo, allowing HMCS Saskatoon and Coast Guard crews to retrieve 10 bales of cocaine from the water.
The retrieval, in combination with a 16-bale seizure March 7 by HMCS Summerside crews and the U.S. Coast Guard, marked the second time this month a Canadian ship helped seize more than 300 kilograms of cocaine.
Swift Current native and lieutenant commander of the Saskatoon ship, Todd Bacon, said the efforts are part of multinational mission — Operation Martillo — to combat criminal organizations in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
“The mission feeds to the Government of Canada’s overall strategy for the Central and South American countries in helping them stabilize their government so that their people are properly supported and that they don’t have trafficking organizations and cartels that are trying to destabilize their government,” he said.
The Canadian wing of the mission is called Operation Caribbe. Bacon said more than 8,000 kilograms of cocaine are seized every year under Caribbe.