Royal Navy warship busts drug smugglers in Gulf caught with £18m of methamphetamine

A ROYAL Navy warship busted 450kg of drugs worth £18m during the ‘most successful’ counter-narcotics operation for illegal substance methamphetamine in the Gulf.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 1:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 4:59 pm

In rough seas, sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Montrose intercepted a suspicious vessel with the support of the ship’s Wildcat helicopter.

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Once on board they found ‘millions of pounds’ worth of methamphetamine on board that were hidden amongst the boat’s cargo.

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HMS Montrose Pic: MOD

The operation was part of the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Operation Sea Shield and was an international effort involving several of the CMF’s 33 member nations and partners.

The ship’s medical team de-contaminated all personnel and equipment with specialist PPE used throughout the boarding process.

Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose, Commander Charles Collins said: ‘Every sailor and marine, airman and woman, alongside our international partners, should be proud to have contributed to the success of this operation which has undoubtedly kept millions of pounds of drugs off our streets.’

The Type 23 frigate is permanently deployed in the Middle East to keep the region’s sea lanes free from illegal activity in order to maintain maritime security.

HMS Montrose busts drug smugglers in Gulf. Pic: MOD

Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said: ‘Following several large drug busts by the Royal Navy in the Caribbean, HMS Montrose has conducted the most successful counter-methamphetamine operation ever in the Middle East.

‘Organised crime funds terrorism and by preventing these drugs reaching the open market HMS Montrose has directly interrupted illegal activity that causes considerable harm across the globe.’

The Royal Marines boarding team’s Officer Commanding from 42 Commando Lieutenant Joe Martin added: ‘For many of the Royal Marines in the team, this was their first operational tasking.

‘It’s good to see all of our hard work and training come to fruition in an operational environment where we are truly making a positive impact to regional maritime security.’

CMF is a multinational maritime partnership that works to counter illicit non-state actors in the Gulf region, promoting stability and security across some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

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