In Pictures: Portsmouth Royal Navy warship HMS Dauntless seizes huge £60m cocaine haul from drugs smugglers
HMS Dauntless helped confiscate a large haul of cocaine from smugglers, with an estimated street value of £60m. Her Wildcat helicopter was launched to stalk the illicit speedboat, with the Royal Marines sniper team also being deployed in the operation.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “During a routine counter-narcotics patrol of the Caribbean Sea, Dauntless launched her Wildcat helicopter and Royal Marines sniper team to close in on the suspect craft. When smugglers began to jettison their illegal cargo, their engines were taken out with precision by the commando snipers, bringing the boat to a juddering halt.
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“That allowed a US coastguard team to be dispatched from Dauntless and 11 large bales of cocaine weighing 330kg to be seized.” This latest operation comes after the Type 45 destroyer intercepted drugs with a street value of £140m during the summer.
In total, 1,230kg was confiscated from a drug running go-fast, with sailors later tracking down a suspicious aircraft flying from Venezuela and alerting ground forces who then intercepted the plane.
Commander Ben Dorrington, HMS Dauntless’s commanding officer, said: “With another bust under the ship’s belt I cannot ask for more from my team. Their work ethos and attention to detail remains second to none which shines through on such interdiction operation such as the last few months.”
The Navy spokesman added: “Earlier in the same patrol but in a separate operation, suspected smugglers scuttled their speedboat as Dauntless closed in. After being guided into position by US maritime patrol aircraft, Dauntless deployed her US coastguard detachment to board and search the craft – only for it to turn into a rescue operation when the small speed boat was sabotaged by its crew.
“With their alleged smuggling mission foiled, cargo lost, and boat sunk, two people were saved, brought aboard HMS Dauntless where they received medical treatment, food and water, before being transferred to a US navy ship the following day.”
The Type 45 destroyer has been deployed in the Caribbean to help British Overseas Territories during hurricane season, while also training alongside their armed forces.