A Canadian warship has returned home to British Columbia after a successful mission in intercepting almost $50 million worth of cocaine off the coast of Mexico. The coastal defence vessel, HMCS Edmonton, undertook the operation as part of the longstanding Canadian commitment, Operation Caribbe, to U.S.-led anti-drug trafficking operations in the eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea.
During their 10-week deployment, the crew, consisting of approximately 40 sailors, worked alongside a pair of U.S. Coast Guard cutters and an American helicopter to intercept a suspected drug-smuggling vessel off Mexico on April 8th. The seized boat, which was categorized as a “go-fast vessel” operating more than 320 kilometres off the Mexican coast, was found to be carrying 755 kilograms of cocaine. Seven people were subsequently arrested and are now in U.S. custody.
The Department of National Defence estimates the confiscated drugs had an estimated Canadian street value of $49.5 million.
“The crew of HMCS Edmonton have worked tirelessly since Operation Caribbe commenced to enhance integration with our United States and Central American partners, which was critical to success in this fast-paced and complex interdiction,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Tyler Smith, the commanding officer of HMCS Edmonton.
This successful operation demonstrates the importance of international collaboration and the dedication of the Canadian and American sailors who played a pivotal role in this operation. Since November 2021, the Canadian navy has participated in the seizure of 4,591 kilograms of illicit drugs, and in the past 15 years, they have confiscated over 120 tonnes of cocaine.
The Canadian sailors involved in the operation can return to their families with pride and satisfaction, knowing that their hard work has made a significant contribution to the ongoing fight against drug trafficking. The threat posed by drug trafficking, both to the people involved and to society as a whole, is a serious issue that requires a coordinated and collaborative effort from everyone involved.