On June 2 officers of the Canada Border Services Agency seized packages of suspected cocaine weighing 16.84 kilograms. (Courtesy of CBSA)

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Roughly $850,000 worth of a substance suspected to be cocaine was seized from a commercial ship near Victoria in June, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

On June 2, a vessel conducting legitimate business between South America, Europe, the Caribbean and the U.S. arrived at the Constance Bank temporary anchorage near Victoria.

When CBSA officers began an examination of the ship, they found 11 individually wrapped grey packages in the engine room. The contents of those packages – a white substance – was field tested and suspected to be cocaine. Roughly 16 kilograms of the substance was seized.

READ ALSO: Two U.S. boaters fined after B.C. RCMP find they broke COVID rules in Canadian waters

“Any drug seizure, small or large, is significant and keeps our communities safe,” said Nina Patel, acting regional director general for the CBSA pacific region, in a statement released Aug. 11. “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.”

On June 3, CBSA officers, alongside the RCMP Vancouver Island Dive Team, continued their search of the vessel. Beneath the waterline, the dive team discovered evidence of tampering on the ship, an indication there may have been even more drugs that had been retrieved underwater at some point before law enforcement intervened.

No other narcotics were found in the vessel. No charges have been laid and there have not been any arrests. An RCMP Shiprider team has taken over the investigation. Shipriders are specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officer authorized to enforce laws on both sides of the international boundary line.

READ ALSO: Saanich man charged in cross-border drug smuggling operation pleads guilty

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