The Sunday Telegraph

Navy and Marines’ double swoop seizes £33m of drugs

- By Sunday Telegraph Reporter

THE Royal Navy has seized more than £33 million worth of illegal drugs in the Middle East after two busts inside 24 hours.

HMS Lancaster intercepte­d smugglers in the Indian Ocean who were trying to move 3.7 tonnes of heroin, hashish and crystal meth.

The crew, aided by the Royal Marines, captured two suspect vessels during an operation as part of a Canadian-led task force aimed at stopping criminal activity in the Middle East.

Marines and Navy sailors posed for a photograph of their haul on the deck of the Lancaster. More than two tonnes of the drugs have been destroyed.

Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, paid tribute to the team’s “fantastic achievemen­ts”. “The Royal Navy continue to lead the UK’s commitment to disrupting drug smugglers across the globe,” he said.

HMS Lancaster, a Duke-class Type 23 frigate, was on patrol when its Wildcat helicopter spotted a suspicious vessel.

Over the next eight hours, Royal Marines from 42 Commando secured the vessel, allowing Lancaster’s crew to board the vessel. After a search, the team recovered nearly 100 packages containing heroin and crystal meth. A few hours later the ship’s helicopter, from 815 Naval Air Squadron, encountere­d another suspicious vessel. Royal Marine commandos boarded in the morning before the sailors joined them in another search.

In this second raid, 2.4 tonnes of hashish was recovered – bringing the total haul to 3.7 tonnes.

According to the National Crime Agency, the collective street value of the bust is about £33 million.

Commander Chris Sharp, the HMS Lancaster’s commanding officer, said: “I am exceptiona­lly proud of the entire team in Lancaster executing these two interdicti­ons on the first two days of our deployment.”

 ?? ?? HMS Lancaster and the Marines pose with the 3.7 tonnes of trafficked drugs
HMS Lancaster and the Marines pose with the 3.7 tonnes of trafficked drugs

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