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HomeNewsRegional NewsCocaine valued at US$175m seized in Caribbean Sea

Cocaine valued at US$175m seized in Caribbean Sea


CARIBBEAN, (CMC) – Joint operations in the Caribbean Sea between the United Kingdom Royal Navy and the United States Coast Guard led to the seizure of 1,230 kilogram (kg) of cocaine with a street value of approximately US$175 million.

In a statement on Saturday, the Royal Navy said its warship, HMS Dauntless deployed its Wildcat helicopter and with assistance from Royal Marines and a US Coast Guard team stopped and searched the boat believed to be smuggling the drugs.

In a second operation, the Royal Navy provided support to other US law enforcement agencies in tracking a suspicious aircraft flying from Venezuela, and alerted ground forces who seized a further 550 kg of cocaine.

“This was a notable first for a Type 45 destroyer, with Dauntless using her state-of-the-art sensors – normally used to scan the skies for hostile incoming jets and missiles – to track the flight of the suspect aircraft for authorities on the ground to intercept,” the Royal Navy said in its statement.

“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 statement said.

It added that, “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.”

The Royal Navy said HMS Dauntless has been deployed to patrol the Caribbean Sea and intercept drugs smugglers and disrupt their illegal activities across the region, while also providing a reassuring presence to British Overseas Territories during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

“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,” said the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Benjamin Dorrington.

The Royal Navy said the deployment of HMS Dauntless “underscores the United Kingdom’s commitment to working with international partners to tackle drug trafficking head-on and protect regional and global security.

“As HMS Dauntless continues its counter narcotics operations in the Caribbean, it stands as a symbol of the UK’s dedication to safeguarding the region and combating all forms of illicit trafficking,” it said.

Commander Dorrington added: “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved, with her advanced technology and highly-skilled team, HMS Dauntless is making significant strides in disrupting transnational criminal organisations and protecting the lives of countless individuals affected by the drugs trade.”

Meanwhile, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency said agents from its Air and Marine Operations and officers from the Puerto Rico Police Department have seized 860 pounds (390 kilos) of cocaine and apprehended two suspects in a drug smuggling attempt in the Caribbean Sea.

CBP said in a statement that the estimated value of the seized narcotics is about US$9.3 million dollars.


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