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Multimillion-dollar drug seizure by Royal Navy

April 7, 2024

LONDON, CMC – The British Royal Navy says its warship HMS Trent seized drugs with a street value of £16.7 million (US$21.1 million) in two separate blows to drug runners in the Caribbean.

The Royal Navy said British sailors, Royal Marines and a US Coast Guard team on HMS Trent intercepted a smuggling speedboat immediately following a port visit to Martinique.

“The warship launched her fast sea boats, piloted by Royal Marines of 47 Commando, to intercept the speedboat, seize the drugs and detain the crew before darkness fell,” said the Royal Navy on Friday.

“Less than 48 hours later, HMS Trent was back in action, working with a US Coast Guard patrol aircraft to track and intercept another speedboat,” it added.

Across the two operations, the Royal Navy said the HMS Trent seized 200kg of cocaine and other drugs, with an estimated street value of £16.7 million.

“The flexibility shown by my ship’s company to move straight from high-level defense engagement activity in Martinique straight into successful boarding operations is a testament to their dedication and professionalism,” said Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Langford, on Friday.

“The level of cooperation between the Royal Navy, US Coast Guard and other partners has been excellent, and has been key to making these seizures possible,” he added.

The Royal Navy said the latest operations mean HMS Trent has now seized drugs worth £307m since it began operating in Caribbean at the end of 2023.

In February, the warship seized £220.56m of cocaine and other drugs, having seized £70.1m of cocaine in January, the Royal Navy said.

“These interceptions demonstrate the Royal Navy’s commitment to disrupt and dismantle the operations of drug traffickers across the world,” said British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps.

“I congratulate the ship’s company for their invaluable efforts to keep illegal drugs off our streets,” he added.

The Royal Navy said “these successful interceptions not only disrupt criminal networks in the UK but also underscore the Royal Navy’s vital role in maintaining maritime security and upholding international law in the region.

“The level of cooperation between the Royal Navy, US Coast Guard and other partners has been excellent,” it added.

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