Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose seizes huge £19m haul of drugs in the Gulf in a blow for international terror groups

MORE than a tonne’s worth of drugs, worth in excess of £19m, has been seized by Royal Navy boarding teams in the Gulf.

By Tom Cotterill
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 9:32 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 11:17 am

Sailors from HMS Montrose were involved in the raid, revealed today by the Combined Maritime Forces task group operating in the region.

The frigate made the bust while on patrol in the Gulf of Oman, on January 15, securing a total of 1,041kg of narcotics.

Montrose seized 663kg of heroin, 87kg of methamphetamine and 291kg of hashish and marijuana worth a combined US street value estimated at $26m – just over £19m.

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A spokesman for the navy said: ‘Montrose’s boarding team pounced so quickly that the crew had no time to hide their illicit cargo in a secret compartment.’

The haul is the latest in a string of high-profile busts carried out by the warship in the region, which included the largest-ever methamphetamine seizure in the region worth more than £18m in October 2020.

Speaking of the latest success, Montrose’s captain, Commander Claire Thompson, said: ‘Our relentless efforts have resulted in a substantial seizure of illegal narcotics and I am extremely proud of my team. Our enduring presence never wanes.

‘A seizure of this size will deal a huge blow to the criminal or terrorist gangs using these illegal narcotics to fund their activity.’

Crew on HMS Montrose sort through all the drugs seized during the latest £19m raid in the Gulf

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Lieutenant Joe Martin, who led the Royal Marine boarding party during the 10-hour operation, said: ‘This has been an incredibly rewarding day for me and my team. It’s great to take drugs like this off the streets and we’re ready to go again’

Type 23 frigate Montrose is currently forward-based in the Gulf as part of Britain’s enduring presence in the region.

Alongside Royal Navy minehunters, the warship is part of an international task force called Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which has increased regional patrols to locate and disrupt unlawful maritime activity.

A sailor on HMS Montrose weighs some of the drugs seized by the ship earlier this month

CTF 150 is one of three task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the largest multinational naval partnership in the world.

The organisation includes 34 nations and is headquartered in Bahrain with US Naval Forces Central Command and US 5th Fleet.

Montrose is currently a Plymouth-flagged ship. However, once her mission is completed in the Gulf, she will join the fleet based in Portsmouth.

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