HMS Dragon Crew with Heroin Seized 220219 CREDIT Royal Navy
Navy

Destroyer HMS Dragon In Fifth Middle East Drugs Haul

The type 45 destroyer seized 49kg of heroin.

HMS Dragon Crew with Heroin Seized 220219 CREDIT Royal Navy

The crew of HMS Dragon with the heroin seized in the Middle East (Picture: Royal Navy).

The 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized 49 kilos of heroin during its fifth Middle East drugs haul.

The Portsmouth-based ship made the seizure as she returned to maritime security operations on the notorious drug smuggling route known as the 'Hash Highway'.

The Class-A drugs were estimated to have a street value of £9m.

The sale of heroin and other drugs of this kind is a known source of funding for terrorist organisations and criminal networks.

The drugs were destroyed following the operation.

HMS Dragon in operation 220219 CREDIT Royal Navy
Drugs being placed on board of HMS Dragon after being seized (Picture: Royal Navy).

"Heroin destroys lives but, thanks to the tireless work of HMS Dragon’s crew, these criminals will not be distributing this poison and will instead face justice," Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said during a visit in the Gulf region.

Mr Williamson was in the region to sign a historic Joint Defence Agreement with Oman.

"These drugs would have had a wide distribution network across the globe, highlighting exactly why we are committed to the region," he said.

"Gulf security is our security."

The bust began with an early-morning sortie for Dragon’s Wildcat helicopter, looking out for suspicious vessels likely to be involved in the narcotics trade.

Crew of HMS Dragon on ops 220219 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
Crew of HMS Dragon on operation in the Gulf (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Dragon spotted a contact at range using their radar. 

"On closing, the flight observer was able to use the electro-optical device on the aircraft to provide high-quality images of the suspect dhow," said Pilot Lieutenant Scott Sunderland, from 815 Naval Air Squadron.

Sea bots were immediately launched on a mission and the Royal Navy and 42 Commando Royal Marines boarding team inspected the vessel.

Following the search of the dhow, which is a type of masted ship, the team found large quantities of drugs hidden in the vessel.

Vessel where drugs were hidden 220219 CREDIT Royal Navy
(Picture: Royal Navy).

Boarding Officer Lieutenant Laurens Willaims said: "The team worked hard over long hours to ensure that any concealed narcotics were found."

"[The success of the operation] is a reward for the hours of training that have been invested by all in ensuring that these operations are conducted successfully," he added.

Crew of HMS Dragon on ops p2 CREDIT Royal NAV
HMS Dragon's team on operation to seize drugs (Picture: Royal Navy).

"This seizure has once again highlighted the fantastic capability of the Wildcat aircraft and its ability to find, fix and identify suspected dhows at vast ranges," said Lieutenant Sunderland.

HMS Dragon will continue supporting the efforts of Combined Task Force 150 over her operational deployment to the region seeking to significantly disrupt the flow of illicit narcotics.