Royal Navy ship seizes £1.8m in heroin after drugs trafficking bust

NEARLY £2m of heroin has been seized by the Royal Navy in the Gulf of Oman.

By Hollie Busby
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 9:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 9:26 pm

Narcotics amounting to 90kg was captured by HMS Montrose, their fourth blow to drug traffickers in the Middle East in as many months.

In a nine-hour operation the ship’s boarding team of Royal Marines and sailors secured the suspect vessel, where sailors scoured the craft from bow to stern.

The frigate pounced on a dhow while conducting a sweep of the Gulf of Oman with an international task force dedicated to stopping criminal and terrorist activity.

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5 MAY 2022 Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has interdicted a stateless dhow whilst on patrol in support of Combined Task Force 150 in the Middle East. The Duke-class Type 23 frigate seized 90kg of heroin with an estimated UK street value of £1.8m. CTF 150 is one of four task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition of 34 nations headquartered in Bahrain committed to maritime security and stability in the Middle East. Photographer: Lt Cdr Jones

They discovered numerous sacks hidden aboard which tests showed contained heroin.

The seizure is worth £1.8m on the streets of the UK.

It brings Montrose’s haul since mid-January to £97m of illegal narcotics – heroin, cannabis and methamphetamines.

It means more than 18 tonnes of drugs have been kept off the streets of the UK – or other countries – since she began operating in the Middle East in January 2019.

James Heappey, minister for the Armed Forces said: ‘The world-leading Royal Navy is demonstrating its value, in this case denying criminals a source of income and keeping drugs off our streets.

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‘Our sailors are operating side by side with allies and friends, upholding the international rules-based system and promoting global security.’

Lieutenant Chris Bonnick, the Royal Marine in charge of HMS Montrose’s commando detachment – normally based at Bickleigh, near Plymouth, said the ship was delighted with its latest success.

He added: ‘At 42 Commando we train for this type of work constantly and it is fantastic to see that training deliver operational success.’

Montrose was working with the Pakistani-led Combined Task Force 150 – one of four naval groups spread across more than three million square of ocean from the Red Sea to the western seaboard of the Indian sub-continent dedicated to keeping sea lanes open and strangling illegal activity on the high seas.

Montrose’s Commanding Officer Commander Paul Irving said: ‘I am very proud of my ship’s company for their efforts in disrupting the global drugs trade and preventing this illicit activity at sea,” said Montrose’s Commanding Officer Commander Paul Irving.

‘It requires my whole team to work together in this type of operation, and once again they have delivered.’