Navy

Royal Navy Seizes £120m Of Drugs In Caribbean

The Royal Navy has carried out seven drugs busts in as many weeks in the region.

The Royal Navy has seized more than £120m of drugs in the Caribbean.

More than one-and-a-half-tonnes of cocaine either rests on the seabed or has been seized by RFA Argus after the ship made two interceptions in the space of a few days.

In the most recent bust, which resulted in a haul of 1,085kg of cocaine, Argus launched her Wildcat helicopter to search for a suspected drug runner.

Aviators from 815 Naval Air Squadron found the boat and gave chase, forcing it to stop, before Royal Marines from 47 Commando and a US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment boarded and searched the vessel, the Navy said.

A Merlin helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron and another boat were launched by RFA Argus to recover packages of drugs thrown overboard during the chase, the Navy added.

A few days earlier, RFA Argus' Wildcat found another speedboat whose crew threw packages of drugs overboard as they tried to outrun the helicopter.

However, the suspects accepted they were unable to avoid capture as Royal Marines of 47 Commando and the US Coast Guard boarded the boat and took control.

An image of one of the suspect boats taken by a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron (Picture: Royal Navy).

It is estimated the suspects had offloaded approximately half a tonne of cocaine, the Navy said.

Captain Kevin Rimell, Commanding Officer of RFA Argus, said: "It's at a time like this, when all the elements in a ship as capable as RFA Argus come together to achieve such success, that one feels proud to be her commanding officer.

"The professionalism and resourcefulness of both the UK and US assets on board have delivered success and proven we work as one team," he said.

The Royal Navy has now had seven successful drugs busts in as many weeks in the Caribbean, preventing drugs worth hundreds of millions of pounds from reaching the open market.

Since early September, RFA Argus and HMS Medway have seized over 4.5 tonnes of cocaine, with a total street value in the UK of £367m.

RFA Argus has carried out five counter-narcotics operations since September, while HMS Medway has conducted two.

The two most recent busts were carried out prior to RFA Argus' deployment to Honduras in Central America to assist with disaster relief following Storm Eta.

HMS Medway and RFA Argus are in the Caribbean as part of a Royal Navy task group supporting British Overseas Territories during hurricane season, as well as maritime security and counter-narcotics operations. 

Cover image: Seized narcotics on RFA Argus' flight deck (Picture: Royal Navy).