UK & World News

  • 29 January 2014, 3:26

Royal Navy Joins US Crew In Huge Drug Bust

A Royal Navy ship has helped the US Coast Guard capture a drug-running speedboat in the Caribbean carrying a multimillion-pound stash of cocaine.

The 1.25 tonnes of the Class A drug were seized after the crew of a Royal Fleet Auxiliary naval support vessel, along with a US Coast Guard helicopter, forced the 25-foot "go-fast" boat suspected of trafficking to stop in international waters south of the Dominican Republic.

Warning shots were fired from the aircraft in a bid to get the boat to stop, but when the suspected smugglers were spotted throwing bales of drugs over the side, gunfire was used to disable the vessel.

RFA Wave Knight then launched its own boarding craft with a US Coast Guard team to question the suspects.

A second boat from Wave Knight recovered 45 bales of cocaine which had been thrown overboard.

Officials said the haul had a US wholesale value of $37m - significantly more in the UK.

Had the drugs made it onto the streets, they would have been worth much more - as much as 300m in Britain, the Ministry of Defence said.

Four people were detained on board, and both the cocaine and detainees were handed over to the US authorities off the coast of Puerto Rico.

British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Once again the Royal Navy have played a key role in the international mission to tackle the drugs trade from the Caribbean.

"The crew of RFA Wave Knight should be proud of their role in seizing such a massive amount of drugs, made more impressive as it is their second successful operation within a month."

Rear Admiral Jake Korn, commander of the Coast Guard Seventh District, described it as a "historic operation".

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