By Virginia Beaton

United States Coast Guard (USCG) Rear-Admiral Christopher Tomney, Director Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, paid a visit to HMCS Summerside in Halifax on June 9, 2016.

RAdm Tomney thanked the ship and its commander, Lieutenant-Commander Paul Smith, for the ship’s role in the seizure of almost 324 kg of cocaine on March 7, 2016, during Op CARIBBE. The seizure took place off the coast of Nicaragua, in international waters. Summerside had embarked a USCG Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), which boarded a vessel of interest and seized 16 bales of cocaine.

Canada has been a longstanding partner in our international task force, which has the mission of detecting and monitoring illicit activities in what we call the transit zone, which is the area north of the South American continent, both in the Caribbean and in the eastern Pacific,” said RAdm Tomney.

He added, “The mission of this international task force is not actual law enforcement, but it is to support law enforcement. That support comes in the form of detecting and monitoring illicit activity, using all source information. Once we have awareness of an illegal event, we monitor that event until a law enforcement group can get on-scene.”

He stated that similar to several other nations, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships cannot directly be engaged in law enforcement. Through the partnership with the USCG, which is a multi-agency organization that is a law enforcement agency in addition to being…

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