Forty million pounds of cocaine have been seized by RFA Mounts Bay and a US Coastguard team south of the US Virgin Islands.
According to the Royal Navy, they seized 1.4 tonnes of illegal narcotics – which turned out to be cocaine, worth more than £35m. The traffickers managed to ditch 150kg of drugs in the Caribbean before they were intercepted – ensuring another £3.75m of cocaine won’t be sold.
“Thanks to the work of the Royal Navy and our US partners these narcotics will not reach the streets and fuel further criminality,” said Armed Forces Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
“RFA Mounts Bay has had a varied deployment, from leading the response to Hurricane Dorian to stopping the illicit drugs trade. This is a timely reminder of the diverse work undertaken by our Armed Forces that helps keep us safe.”
According to the release:
“It’s the second bust in a week scored by UK Naval forces; just a few days ago HMS Defender captured £1m of cannabis from a dhow on the Hash Highway in the Middle East. Mounts Bay has been on counter-drugs patrol since the beginning of the year, taking part in a combined UK-US-French operation, Carib Royale.
Aboard the Falmouth-based ship is a specialist board-and-search team of US Coastguard personnel – the Law Enforcement Detachment – and their MH65 helicopter. That helicopter was on a patrol when it came across a ‘go-fast’ craft – typical of those used by smugglers in the region. Mounts Bay changed course to intercept and once within close range, sent the Coastguard detachment across to stop the craft and seize its cargo.”
The boarding team found 44 large bales of cocaine – and learned from the five-strong crew that they had succeeded in jettisoning 150kg, about one tenth of their cargo, before they were halted in the tracks.