A Royal Navy warship seized more than a ton of cocaine worth $175 million on the streets in a drug trafficking snare set up with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Caribbean.
HMS Dauntless, a Portsmouth-based warship hunted down a ‘go-fast’ smuggling boat with 1,230kg of cocaine, deploying a Wildcat helicopter, Royal Marines, and the US team to stop and search the vessel.
In another operation in the Caribbean Sea, the ship supported additional US law enforcement agencies in tracking a suspicious aircraft flying from Venezuela. The team alerted ground forces and seized a further 550kg of cocaine.
It was the first time the Type 45 destroyer used state-of-the-art sensors normally used to scan the skies for hostile incoming jets and missiles to track a suspect drug flight.
“It shows that not only are we able to disrupt the flow of drugs at sea but have the ability to sense and track air traffic, suspected of transporting drugs,” the HMS Dauntless officers told the Royal Navy.
“This also highlights the importance of taking an interagency approach to counter narcotics, as our US counterparts were able to seize the aircraft upon arrival at its destination.”
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The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Benjamin Dorrington, agreed. “The successful counter illicit trafficking operation demonstrates the value of working with partners such as the US Coast Guard and the professionalism of the ship’s company of HMS Dauntless.”
The first operation began when Dauntless’ advanced radar system alerted sailors to the presence of a suspect vessel. Acting quickly, Dauntless closed on its position, launching its embarked helicopter.
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The US Coast Guard team deployed when Dauntless moved in, with the helicopter providing cover overhead.
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