Royal Navy makes $370M drug bust helped by US Coast Guard, patrol aircraft

Royal Navy

The United Kingdom’s Royal Navy teamed up with the United States Coast Guard and a United States Maritime Patrol Aircraft to intercept a speedboat suspected of smuggling drugs in the US Virgin Islands.

According to the Royal Navy, the smugglers began offloading their illegal cargo as they fled towards land. However, the HMS Trent, her fast sea boats and a US patrol aircraft gave chase and eventually recovered 94 bales of class-A narcotics, weighing 2,757kg and worth £220.56 million ($370 million).

“This operation sends a clear message: The Royal Navy remains resolute in its efforts to disrupt and dismantle the operations of drug traffickers across the world,” UK Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps said in a statement.

“We will continue to ensure that those who seek to profit from illegal drugs face the full force of justice.I’d like to congratulate the ship’s company for their invaluable work keeping illegal drugs off our streets,” Shapps continued.

The Royal Navy said that this was HMS Trent’s second drug bust in the space of only three weeks, having seized £70.1 million ($88.1 million) worth of cocaine in a separate operation in January 2024. 

“The achievements of this ship and her crew in the last nine months have been spectacular, and it is brilliant to see the hard work and dedication of this amazing team paying off. The team is rightly proud of their efforts, and those of our USCG colleagues,” HMS Trent Commanding Officer Commander Tim Langford said in a statement.

The second bust was also a coordinated operation with the US Coast Guard and a US Maritime Patrol aircraft.

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