The Royal Navy has seized cocaine worth £21 million after a 12-hour pursuit to apprehend drug runners in the Caribbean, the Ministry of Defence has said.
HMS Argyll, currently stationed on anti-drugs operations in the region, gave chase to a suspicious boat after it had been spotted by a US Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
As the Royal Navy Type 23 'Duke' class frigate moved to intercept the vessel she launched her Lynx helicopter which then confirmed that the it was acting in a way typical of drug smugglers, before sending her sea boats across to apprehend the crew and seize any contraband.
While in the Caribbean the Royal Navy works with a Law Enforcement Detachment team from the US Coastguard which embark on their ships for counter-narcotic operations.
Once on board the smugglers boat, a detachment of US Coastguard and Royal Navy sailors discovered 600kgs of cocaine with a UK street value of £21 million wrapped in plastic.
Five people were discovered on board by the search party and were detained in HMS Argyll until they could be handed over to US authorities.
“HMS Argyll is a tremendous ship with a great team on board,” said the Officer in Charge of the US Coast Guard LEDET. “It is a testimony to their professionalism that we have captured such a large amount of drugs and a number of smugglers after such a short time on patrol.”
This is not the first time Argyll has seized a significant amount of drugs from smugglers. In September 2006 Argyll was deployed along with other ships where she completed two drugs raids on merchant ships totaling £50 million.