Royal Navy drugs bust nets £9m haul

CAPTURED Bales of drugs from the suspect vessel Miss Tiffany
CAPTURED Bales of drugs from the suspect vessel Miss Tiffany

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MARIJUANA with a street value of £9m has been stopped from reaching the streets after a joint action in the Caribbean between the Royal Navy and US law enforcement.

The naval support ship RFA Wave Knight was involved in the action, helping US law enforcement officials launch boats to stop drug traffickers jettisoning their illegal load.

RFA Wave Knight has been in the region supporting HMS Lancaster, the Portsmouth-based frigate which has been patrolling the waters on the look out for drug smugglers.

It is part of the 15-nation Operation Matillo, which aims to stop drugs moving from south America to the Caribbean.

Secretary of state for defence, Philip Hammond, said: ‘The work of the Royal Navy across the globe and in particular in the Caribbean on counter-narcotics operations is vital to protecting us here at home.

‘This drugs bust follows recent successful interdiction and deterrence operations by HMS Lancaster and HMS Argyll in the Caribbean which all contribute to ensuring illegal drugs do not reach our streets.

‘I congratulate the ship’s company for their actions in this operation.’

Bales of drugs were thrown overboard by the crew of the Miss Tiffany, and, while some sank, the US law enforcement and naval officers were able to recover around 55 of them – with a street value of £6.4m.

Captain Chris Clarke, commanding officer of RFA Wave Knight, said: ‘The entire ship’s company – RFA civilians, US Law Enforcement Team and Royal Navy personnel alike – as well as HQ and prosecuting staff ashore - are delighted with the result.’