Marines in dramatic £21m Caribbean drugs bust

Boats from HMS Argyll intercept the ‘go fast’
Boats from HMS Argyll intercept the ‘go fast’

Commandos based at Faslane carried out a drugs bust which saw cocaine worth £21m seized after a 12-hour chase across the Caribbean.

The warship's crew with seized cocaine
The warship’s crew with seized cocaine

Royal Navy Frigate HMS Argyll received information that a suspicious-looking vessel had been spotted by a Maritime Patrol Aircraft and powered across the sea to intercept it.

On board the warship were snipers from Faslane-based 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.

Once she closed on the boat, the ship launched her onboard Lynx helicopter to confirm it was acting in a way typical of drug smugglers, before sending her sea boats across to capture the crew and contraband.

HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Hammond, said: “My team and I knew that a swift and correct interception was required in this case.

“We worked well with our international partners to give ourselves the best chance of success and I used the exceptional capabilities of a modern warship, including sea boats and the Lynx helicopter, to detain the crew and seize the drugs from the target vessel.”

Once on board the small power boat, known as a go-fast, the US Coastguard and Royal Navy sailors discovered bales of cocaine amounting to nearly 600 kilos wrapped in bin bags.

Five people also found on board were detained in HMS Argyll and handed over to US justice on Friday (August 22).