Jasen Sagman Maritime Nation

HMCS Seizes and Destroys nearly 400 Pounds of Heroin in the Indian Ocean

Disposal team members of HMCS Toronto handling the narcotics found on 5 October 2013.

On 5 October 2013 HMCS Toronto discovered 154 bags of heroin weighing nearly 400 pounds while patrolling the Arabian Sea region. The interception and boarding took place 500 nautical miles east of the Horn of Africa, and the entirety of the caché was destroyed.

HMCS Toronto is operating in the Arabian Sea region as part of Operation ARTEMIS. The purpose of this Operation is to demonstrate solidarity with our allies in the quest for peace and security in the maritime environment of the greater Middle East region.

Operation ARTEMIS is the code name for Canada`s overall commitment to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), an international naval partnership that provides security for civilian maritime traffic in the waters of the greater Middle East region. At the centrepiece of Canada’s commitment to the CMF is HMCS Toronto, a Halifax-class frigate that has served in the Royal Canadian Navy since 1992. With a crew of 258 personnel, including a CH-125 Sea King air detachment and unmanned aerial vehicle, her mission as a member of Combined Maritime Task Force 150 is to detect, deter, and protect against terrorist activity.

Since first deploying on Operation ARTEMIS in January 2013, HMCS Toronto has made seven large-scale drug busts, recovering approximately 17,000 pounds of narcotics. “Canada remains steadfast in its involvement in the fight against terrorism with our maritime allies of Combined Maritime Task Force 150,” commented the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. “The recent drug seizure made by the crew of HMCS Toronto demonstrates the skills and experience our country brings to the multinational effort.”

Commander Matthew Bowen, commanding officer of HMCS Toronto, added to Minister Nicholson’s comments, noting that he is extremely proud of the work Toronto’s team, and all those on whom they rely for support, have done to achieve this success. “A positive outcome like this, seizing and disposing of illegal narcotics whose sale would have funded extremist groups, is a big win for Canada’s counter-terrorism efforts.”

Jasen Sagman
Jasen Sagman is currently pursuing an M.A. in Global Diplomacy from the University of London, SOAS. He works for a Member of Parliament in Ottawa, and holds an Honours B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto. His research interests include terrorism and counter-terrorism, Israeli security, and Canadian foreign policy. He has previously researched for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.