Joint CBSA and RCMP operation seizes over 16 kilograms of suspected cocaine from commercial vessel

More drugs were apparently retrieved underwater sometime before law enforcement’s intervention

CANADA Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP on Tuesday announced the seizure of suspected cocaine from a commercial vessel in British Columbia.

On June 2, the commercial vessel arrived in Canada at Constance Bank Anchorage near Victoria. Officers from the CBSA Vancouver Island Mobile Enforcement Team (MET), CBSA Victoria Marine Operations, and the CBSA Pacific Region Intelligence Section boarded the vessel to perform an examination.

CBSA officers located 11 individually wrapped packages in the ship’s engine room. A field test of the contents identified the white substance as suspected cocaine. A total of 16.84 kilograms of suspected cocaine were seized.

On June 3, the CBSA Vancouver Island MET continued examining the vessel in collaboration with the RCMP Vancouver Island Dive Team.

The RCMP Vancouver Island Dive Team conducted a comprehensive dive operation under the waterline of the vessel. Evidence of tampering was found, suggesting that there likely had been more drugs on that ship and they were retrieved underwater sometime before law enforcement’s intervention. No further narcotics were discovered on board.  

The ship was conducting legitimate business, travelling between South America, Europe, the Caribbean and the United States, before arriving in BC waters. A team from the RCMP Shiprider Program attended and took charge of the criminal investigation. No arrests were made or charges laid.

The estimated value of 16.84 kilograms of cocaine is $875,000.

“The teamwork and cooperation of our teams at the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police demonstrate that when it comes to protecting Canadians, we are in this together. Any drug seizure, small or large, is significant and keeps our communities safe,” said Nina Patel, Acting Regional Director General, Pacific Region, CBSA.

“The RCMP and CBSA are keeping up with concealment methods for illicit contraband, continually adapting to new trends. Sharing best practices and good communication provide us with great intelligence so we can keep disrupting the activities of Organized Crime groups,” said Superintendent Bert Ferreira, Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Border Integrity Program.

Quick Facts

* Anyone with information about suspicious cross-border activity is encouraged to call the CBSA Border Watch Toll-free Line at 1-888-502-9060.

Information on the Pacific Shiprider Program

* The CBSA and the RCMP work together to prevent illegal drug smuggling that endangers the safety of Canadian communities and generates profits for organized crime.