Wave Knight scores £9m drugs bust intercepting Caribbean smugglers
Sailors from tanker RFA Wave Knight stopped an estimated £9m of cannabis reaching the UK after intercepting a suspicious fishing vessel in the Caribbean.
The ship recovered more than £6m of cannabis bales from the ocean as the drug-runners ditched them overboard, with upwards of £3m worth of narcotics ending up on the seabed.
This is what £6.4m of cannabis looks like – and it will never reach dealers, let alone the streets of the UK after being snared by RFA Wave Knight in the Caribbean.
Upwards of £3m of the drug is thought to be resting on the seabed after the tanker gave chase to a suspicious fishing vessel, whose crew began tossing their cargo overboard.
The tanker was on patrol when she came across Miss Tiffany – and sent her sea boat off in pursuit, armed with a US Coast Guard boarding team.
When the boat reached the fishing vessel, the drug runners began ditching weighted bales of marijuana before their craft was boarded by the Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
Thanks to the efforts of the crew of Wave Knight’s second sea boat, some 55 of those bales were recovered and brought aboard the auxiliary.
Miss Tiffany tries – and fails – to out run the tanker
In all a haul of some 1.2 tons (1276 Kg) with a street value of around £6.4m was recovered by Team Wave Knight with an estimated further 1,200lbs (540kg) of drugs sinking before the sailors could haul the bales out of the Caribbean.
Total disruption to the drug-runners: about £9m with seven crew of the Miss Tiffany arrested and their boat handed over to Jamaican authorities.
“The entire ships company – RFA civilians, US Law Enforcement Team and Royal Navy personnel alike – as well as HQ and prosecuting staff ashore – are delighted with the result,” said Capt Chris Clarke RFA, Wave Knight’s Commanding Officer.
“Once again the joint approach to counter narcotic operations has resulted in another successful take-down.”
It’s the fourth significant bust by British naval forces in the past couple of months.
The recovered drugs are hauled aboard Wave Knight
Lancaster bagged £100m cocaine and £700,000 cannabis, while Wave Knight intercepted a drug-smuggling go-fast in a joint effort with the Dutch.
Those successes were underlined by defence secretary Philip Hammond. “The work of the Royal Navy across the globe and in particular in the Caribbean on counter-narcotics operations is vital to protecting us here at home,” he said.
“This drugs bust follows recent successful interdiction and deterrence operations by HMS Lancaster and HMS Argyll in the Caribbean which all contribute to ensuring illegal drugs do not reach our streets. I congratulate the ship’s company for their actions in this operation.”
Wave Knight’s bust came under the banner of Operation Martillo, an effort by 15 nations to stop the movement of drugs from the Central and South American region by sea or air.