Video shows the dramatic moment Royal Navy team from HMS Dragon boards fishing boat packed with almost £2m of hash

THIS is the dramatic moment the first Commando from a Royal Navy boarding party clambered onto a fishing boat loaded with drugs.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 2:20 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 2:26 pm
A Royal Marine clambers onto the fishing ship that was packed with 2,450kg of drugs. Photo: Royal Navy

Royal Marines and sailors on two fast-boats from the Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Dragon surrounded the dhow in the Middle East yesterday.

Within moments of securing the vessel, the boarding team had found its first haul of narcotics – bags of hash – hidden under the boat’s fishing nets.

Determined there was still a greater haul to be found, the Royal Navy team searched every inch of the wood vessel.

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A Royal Marine clambers onto the fishing ship that was packed with 2,450kg of drugs. Photo: Royal Navy

The footage shows the team crawling through muck and slime to find the drugs before hauling them off the dhow.

It fell to the smallest member of HMS Dragon’s boarding team, Engineering Technician Thomas Jones Leah, to crawl into the space beneath the boat’s fuel tanks to conduct the search.

He fought through slime and dirt in the confined space to remove false hatches which concealed the bagged narcotics.

ET Jones Leah said: ‘It was dark down there and pretty disgusting, full of water and slimy.

Days after sailing into the record books for delivering the most successful Royal Naval counter narcotics patrol in Op Kipion history, HMS Dragon strikes again with her eighth drugs bust. This haul alone saw Dragon seize and destroy 2,540Kg of hash.

‘There was very little space beneath the fuel tanks. I was given the task to remove the bags, each weighing about 20kgs.

‘To find and remove these drugs is a great achievement for us and makes the hard work worth it.’

The boarding team worked tirelessly in temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius to remove the bags of hash, ready to be transported back to HMS Dragon and destroyed.

Lieutenant Laurie Williams, HMS Dragon’s boarding officer, said: ‘On getting alongside and talking to the dhow’s crew our suspicions were raised and we found enough evidence to warrant a boarding. The Royal Marine team embarked and quickly secured the vessel.

In all, 2,540kg was seized during the operation. It was the eighth bust by Dragon’s crew since the £1bn vessel left Portsmouth in September.

It brings the total haul to 17,786kg of hash, 455kg of heroin, and 9kg of crystal meth – totalling more than £145m.