British Royal Navy Scores Caribbean Drug Bust Valuing US$92 Million

Cocaine Seizure

CMC News

Release Date

Monday, October 14, 2013


The British Royal Navy says a warship deployed in the Caribbean seized cannabis and cocaine with a street value of 58 million (US$92 million) in two busts just days apart.

On Saturday, the Royal Navy said in the most recent bust, the HMS Lancaster intercepted 55m (one pound = US$1.60) of cocaine and 3m of marijuana one bust took place in the middle of a thunderstorm, while the second saw Lancaster's Royal Marines sniper shoot out the engine of a speedboat.

The Navy said Lancaster's double whammy is the fifth and sixth busts in a couple of months bringing her tally to over 160m.

The cocaine seizure began when the frigate responded to a call from a Canadian tanker, which spotted a speedboat dashing across the Western Caribbean.

Tests confirmed the 400kg drugs were pure cocaine, worth about 17m but cut several times over for sale on the streets, its value would be 55m.

Whilst the cannabis haul 1.2 tonnes wasn't as high value, the bust was equally dramatic, the Royal Navy said.

It was played out in a raging thunderstorm off the coast of Costa Rica, after Lancaster's Lynx Spartan' had spotted a fast craft and began to track it, it added.

Commander Steve Moorhouse, HMS Lancaster's Commanding Officer, said: This is another fantastic result for Lancaster and the multi-national counter-narcotics effort as a whole.

The level of cooperation that exists between units and nations working with the Joint Interagency Task Force is second to none and, hopefully, this bust will make those who choose to smuggle narcotics in the region think twice, he added.

Previous busts by the frigate include 3.5m of marijuana in September, 100m of cocaine in August, as well as 700,000 of cannabis.

The Royal Navy said the warship also significantly disrupted marijuana and heroin trafficking in the Caribbean.

We should be extremely proud of HMS Lancaster's actions in the Caribbean and efforts to disrupt the supply of illegal, life-destroying drugs, said Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois.

This is another fantastic success for the ship's company, their constant hard work and professionalism is a great international advert for the Royal Navy and our country, he added.

Lancaster's patrols are part of Operation Martillo, a combined effort by 15 nations to prevent criminal organisations from moving goods by air or sea in Central America, and stopping drugs trafficking from South America to the Caribbean and on to the UK.

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