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

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 @RoyalNavy is disrupting drug networks across the 🌍

Nearly £300m of class-A drugs were seized by the crew of @HMSTrent in the Caribbean Sea in two huge busts.

Their relentless efforts abroad are keeping drugs off our streets at home.

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— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 4, 2024

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. 

DRUGS BUST #1 – TRENT with embarked US Coastguard🇺🇸 and 47 Cdo RM have intercepted a massive 876KG of Cocaine in the Caribbean. Great work by all involved in the night-time chase ensured the 600Hp Go-Fast was intercepted and the drugs confiscated. @RoyalNavy #TeamTrent

— HMS Trent (@HMSTrent) March 4, 2024

DRUGS BUST #2 for TRENT! A further 616kg recovered by TRENT following a pursuit, with a whopping 2151kg⚖️seized ashore by Law Enforcement coordinated from TRENT by USCG. Running total seized is now 3,643kg, worth over £300m @RoyalNavy #TeamTrent #FwdDeployed Watch this space…😉

— HMS Trent (@HMSTrent) March 4, 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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