HMCS Calgary crew makes record-setting drug bust in Arabian Sea

A Canadian Navy frigate based in Victoria has made a record-setting drug bust while operating in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman.

HMCS Calgary, operating under the command of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150, seized 1,286 kilograms of heroin on April 23 — the most ever captured by a coalition ship. The previous high was 1,032 kilograms of heroin in 2014 by an Australian navy ship.

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Less than 24 hours later, HMCS Calgary intercepted another vessel with 360 kilograms of methamphetamine.

The drugs, worth an estimated $23 million, are often used to finance terrorism in the region, according to Combined Maritime Forces.

“I’m speaking for everyone on HMCS Calgary when I say it’s a great feeling to have made two substantial busts so early into our operation,” Commander Mark O’Donohue, the ship’s commanding officer, said in a statement.

“It’s fantastic to see that pay off and to know we are contributing to the interruption of a revenue stream that is being used to fund terrorism,” he added.

The drug seizures came less than 10 days after HMCS Calgary arrived in the region, and increased to 14 the number of successful counter-narcotics operations since the Royal Canadian Navy took command of the task force on Jan. 27. Vessels from Europe, the United States, Australia and the Middle East are also taking part.

HMCS Calgary is on deployment with 50 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a patrol plane.

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