UK navy, marines make massive drug seizure in Indian Ocean

UK navy, marines make massive drug seizure in Indian Ocean

LONDON (Agencies): The UK’s Royal Navy seized more than $41 million worth of heroin, hashish and crystal meth in the Middle East, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Over a 24-hour period, the crew of HMS Lancaster, in tandem with the Royal Marines, intercepted drug smuggling vessels in the Indian Ocean carrying 3.7 tonnes of the contraband.

The operation, which led to the seizure of two ships, was part of a Canadian-led task force targeting criminal activity in the region.

Both seizures involved a Wildcat helicopter taking off from the Lancaster before sighting suspicious vessels in the area.

Royal Marines were then deployed to capture the ships. Naval search teams discovered more than 100 packages of drugs on board the first vessel, and 2.4 tonnes of hashish on the second, the Ministry of Defence said. The Lancaster crew subsequently destroyed more than 2 tonnes of the drugs.

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps hailed the operation as a “fantastic achievement,” adding: “The Royal Navy continue to lead the UK’s commitment to disrupting drug smugglers across the globe.”

The Lancaster’s commanding officer, Chris Sharp, said: “I am exceptionally proud of the entire team in Lancaster executing these two interdictions on the first two days of our deployment.

“Complex interceptions like these in such a challenging environment require true teamwork across the entire ship’s company.”