Crews praised for role in multinational drug bust

The HMCS St. John's, a Halifax-class frigate is seen under way as it goes past Georges Island in...

The HMCS St. John's, a Halifax-class frigate is seen under way as it goes past Georges Island in the Halifax harbour May 14,2010. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Canada announced Saturday that it participated in a massive drug bust on the high seas late last year.

"HMCS St. John's helped recover a drug cargo from a scuttled self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel while deployed on Operation CARIBBE in the international waters of the Caribbean Basin from October 3 to November 14, 2011," the Royal Canadian Navy said in a press release.

"More than 6,700 kg of cocaine was recovered from the vessel," the Navy said. "The drugs, destined for distribution in North America, had an estimated street value of U.S. $180 million."

The Navy added that during St. John's deployment, "the US Coast Guard made 38 arrests, and seized a total of 10,902 kg of cocaine and 1144 kg of marijuana, equating to more than U.S. $223 million."

"I am very proud of the close relationship our sailors and air crews have developed and maintain with our U.S. Navy and US Coast Guard counterparts in keeping dangerous drugs off North American streets," Lt.-Gen. Walt Semianiw, the commander of Canada Command, the organization responsible for Canadian Forces operations in Canada and North America, said.

"At sea and in the air, their skills and professionalism are highly valued and serve to warn illegal drug traffickers that their activities are under constant surveillance by allied forces."

Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that drug traffickers had used the self-propelled semi-submersibles at least 45 times in the first six months of 2008 to transport cocaine.

"SPSS now account for 32% of all maritime cocaine flow" between Latin America and the United States," the department said.

 


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