Plymouth-based Royal Navy ship helps to dismantle multi-million pound Caribbean drug operation

17/11/20- RFA Argus- ITV News West Country
RFA Argus retrieved more than £100 million pounds worth of cocaine in just a few days. Credit: ITV News West Country

Drugs with a street value of more than a third of a billion pounds have been intercepted by with the help of a Plymouth-based Royal Navy ship on patrol in the Caribbean.

RFA Argus in support of HMS Medway have been involved in seven drug busts in seven weeks leading to the seizure of 4.5 tonnes of cocaine, valued at £367 million.

RFA Argus was involved in two incidents in just a few days in which its crew intercepted one-and-a-half tonnes of cocaine worth £120 million.

Captain Kevin Rimell, the ship's commanding officer, said: "The professionalism and resourcefulness of both the UK and US assets on board have delivered success and proven we work as one team."<

The navy ship has carried out five operations since September. Credit: ITV News West Country

A Navy spokesman said: "Packages of drugs had been thrown overboard during the chase, so a Merlin helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron and another boat were launched by Argus to recover the discarded bags.

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

"The traffickers accepted they were unable to avoid capture as the Royal Marines of 47 Commando and the US Coast Guard closed in on them, boarded it and took control. It is estimated the suspects had off-loaded approximately half a tonne of cocaine.<

"The captured smugglers were handed to a nearby US Coast Guard cutter before RFA Argus continued her Caribbean patrol, leading a Royal Navy task group which also includes patrol ship HMS Medway."

Argus has carried out five counter-narcotics operations since September while Medway has been involved in two.

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