Royal Navy in £160m Caribbean drugs bust

Drugs worth more than £160 million which could have ended up in the UK have been seized in the Caribbean.

The Royal Navy was joined by Royal Marines, US Coast Guard teams and a Dutch Navy ship in the drug bust which saw the seizure of 1.7 tonnes of cocaine and 28kg of amphetamines.

The bust was the second in two days after 264kg of cocaine was seized in a separate operation in the region 48 hours before.

Joint Navy drug seizure
A Merlin helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron lifting off from RFA Argus (LPhot Oates/Royal Navy/PA)

The Royal Navy said its Caribbean task group has prevented nearly a quarter of a billion pounds worth of drugs reaching the UK after three separate drug busts also took place last month.

RFA Argus is in the Caribbean with HMS Medway providing support to British overseas territories during hurricane season.

Both ships also continue to carry out maritime security and counter-narcotics operations in the region.

The UK works in partnership with allied nations in the Caribbean as part of the Joint Interagency Task Force South, which detects and monitors activity to support security operations from its base in Florida.

Joint Navy drug seizure
Some of the drugs seized (Royal Navy/PA)

The commanding officer of RFA Argus, Captain Kevin Rimell, said: “Collectively we secured and apprehended a number of smugglers and a large quantity of contraband.

“These are challenging times and we ask a lot of our people so it is encouraging to see that our training and professionalism continues to shine through.”

Armed forces minister James Heappey said: “The armed forces are committed to tackling organised crime, both at home and overseas, and work with our allies around the world to help protect our people and interests.

“The Royal Navy has once again demonstrated its professionalism and tactical operational capability in an international effort to stop illegal drug-smuggling.

“It is with thanks to their efforts that £160 million worth of drugs will never reach the streets of the UK.”

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