UK warship seizes 600kg cocaine haul

A UK Royal Navy’s warship HMS Argyll has seized nearly 600 kilogrammes of cocaine with a street value of nearly USD35 million after a 12-hour pursuit across the Caribbean.

After receiving information that a suspicious-looking vessel had been spotted by a maritime patrol aircraft, HMS Argyll, which is on counter-narcotics operations in the region, deployed to intercept it.

Argyll’s Lynx helicopter confirmed the vessel was acting in a way typical of being operated by drug smugglers, and her sea boats were sent across to capture the crew and contraband.

Once onboard the small power boat, known as a go-fast, the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and Royal Navy sailors discovered bales of cocaine wrapped in bin bags.

HMS Argyll’s commanding officer, Commander Paul Hammond, said:

“My team and I knew that a swift and correct interception was required in this case. We worked well with our international partners to give ourselves the best chance of success and I used the exceptional capabilities of a modern warship, including sea boats and the Lynx helicopter, to detain the crew and seize the drugs from the target vessel.”

This work is part of Operation Martillo, a 15-nation collaborative effort to deny transnational criminal organisations air and maritime access to the coastal regions of Central America with the goal of putting a stop to the illegal movement of drugs from South America to the western world.

The 18 bags of seized narcotics were transferred to a US Coastguard vessel for transfer to the United States.