March 6, 2019 – Just days after HMS Dragon bagged two tonnes of hash in the Indian Ocean, RFA Mounts Bay seized £190,000 of cocaine half a world away.
The ship recovered 100kg of the Class A narcotic from Hessian sacks dumped in the Caribbean as drug-runners dumped their illegal cargo and fled from authorities.
It’s the second time in a month the support ship has recovered drugs ditched in the ocean, tossed overboard by criminals determined not to get caught in the act.
Last month, she came across 22kg of marijuana. On this occasion she responded to a tip off from an American patrol aircraft which reported seeing the crew of a boat suspiciously dumping their payload – typical practice by traffickers when they’re sighted by the authorities.
Mounts Bay has a Dolphin helicopter from the US Coast Guard’s HITRON – Helicopter Interdiction Tactical squadRON – and its counter-narcotics boarding team, the LEDET (Legal Enforcement DETachment) on board for drugs patrols.
The helicopter was immediately launched and located the jetsam as the ship closed in on the position.
Once on scene, she launched her boat – despite choppy weather – whose crew hauled the still-floating bales out of the water.
Tests conducted aboard Mounts Bay confirmed the sacks contained cocaine estimated to be worth around $250,000 (around £190,000). The drugs have now been handed over to the US Coast Guard for destruction.
Captain Angus Bissell, RFA Mounts Bay’s Commanding Officer, said once again the presence of his ship patrolling the Caribbean as part of the international effort to stop drug-running had a deterrent effect.
“Once again we’ve demonstrated that UK and US forces working in partnership are committed to – and showing success in – reducing the flow of drugs throughout the wider Caribbean.”
Mounts Bay is the UK’s long-term naval presence in the Caribbean, dedicating her summers and autumns to disaster relief operations in the wake of hurricanes which strike with devastating frequency, while the rest of her year is focused on counter drugs patrols.