Royal Navy's HMS Defender carries out huge £3.3m crystal meth bust in the Middle East

A Portsmouth-based naval destroyer has carried out a huge £3.3m drugs bust in the Middle East.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 3:34 pm

The crew from HMS Defender leapt into action after her Wildcat helicopter found a suspicious dhow while on dawn patrol in the northern Arabian Sea.

The vessel was not flying any flag or showing any evidence it was fishing, prompting the destroyer to investigate.

Royal Marines were sent across in sea boats and swiftly secured the dhow and the crew.

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HMS Defender carrying out her £3.3m drugs bust in the Middle East. Picture: Royal Navy

Sailors carried out a search of the vessel and found 11 mail-bag sized sacks, some weighing up to 15-20 kilograms and suspected of containing crystal methamphetamines.

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The total haul was 131kg, which is believed to have an estimated value of £3.3m if on the streets of the UK.

Lieutenant Ben Clink, the officer in charge of the Royal Marines detachment aboard Defender, said: ‘After all the training and preparation, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to demonstrate our capability with a successful boarding.

HMS Defender carrying out her £3.3m drugs bust in the Middle East. Picture: Royal Navy

‘It’s the best Christmas present we could hope for.’

The destroyer’s Commanding Officer, Commander Richard Hewitt, added: ‘I am really proud that HMS Defender has been able to interdict such a significant quantity of drugs and prevent it reaching the UK streets.

It has been a busy year for the crew on board HMS Defender. In May she successfully tested her missile systems off the coast of Scotland.

HMS Defender carrying out her £3.3m drugs bust in the Middle East. Picture: Royal Navy

Later in the year she sailed to join HMS Montrose and HMS Duncan in guarding British-flagged shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

HMS Defender carrying out her £3.3m drugs bust in the Middle East. Picture: Royal Navy