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Thursday, February 4, 2016

3 RCN Members Arrested in Japan

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, February 3, 2016 8:05PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 3, 2016 9:54PM EST

ESQUIMALT, B.C. -- Two members of a Canadian warship's crew have been charged with drug offences in Japan, the navy says.

The charges follow a port visit to Tokyo by HMCS Winnipeg, a Halifax-class frigate with a crew of about 250 personnel.

The navy said in a news release that police detained two military members and a civilian employee on Monday for the alleged use of a controlled substance.

Police released one of the military members but have charged the other two with use of a controlled substance, the navy said.

Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, called the allegations troubling.

"While it is too early to speak to the specifics of any actions or investigations at this point, I can state definitively that our response will be based on facts and will serve to remind and reassure all who serve in the (Royal Canadian Navy) that unacceptable behaviour, whatever its nature, has no place within our ranks," he said in a statement.

The Canadian Armed Forces has a zero-tolerance policy for the possession and use of illicit drugs.

The navy said it will work with Canadian consular officials and Japanese authorities and will support the individuals who are being held in custody, and their families at home.

HMCS Winnipeg deployed from Esquimalt, B.C., on June 15, 2015.

It participated in Operation Caribbe, a multinational campaign against drug trafficking in the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific Ocean, before joining NATO forces in the Mediterranean Sea as part of Operation Reassurance.

HMCS Winnipeg was replaced in the latter operation by HMCS Fredericton, which deployed from Halifax on Jan. 5. 

The official statement from DND was as follows: 

ESQUIMALT, B.C.- On February 1, 2016, three members of HMCS Winnipeg’s ship’s company were detained by Japanese authorities while the ship was conducting a port visit in Tokyo, Japan. These crew members, two military members and one civilian employee, were detained for the alleged use of a controlled substance. One of the military members has since been released by police, while the other two persons have now been charged with use of a controlled substance by the Tokyo Police.

The Navy will continue to work with Canadian Consular officials and Japanese authorities as may be required throughout this process.

The RCN, and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a whole, has a zero-tolerance policy for illicit drug use and possession.

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) will continue to provide support to those being held in custody, as well as to their families here in Canada.

“All of our personnel, military and civilian, are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that brings credit to the Navy, the Canadian Armed Forces, and our country as a whole. Our personnel are held to the highest standards of professionalism and conduct, and are subject to all Canadian laws, the Criminal Code, and the Code of Service Discipline, which is part of the National Defence Act. These allegations are obviously troubling, and while it is too early to speak to the specifics of any actions or investigations at this point, I can state definitively that our response will be based on facts, and will serve to remind and reassure all who serve in the RCN that unacceptable behaviour, whatever its nature, has no place within our ranks.” Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commander Maritime Forces (Pacific)