The Royal Navy has pulled off a record-breaking drugs haul of crystal meth - which had a staggering £15.5 million street value.
In its fifth drugs bust this year, HMS Montrose was tracking a suspicious looking dhow - a type of sailing vessel - in the Arabian Sea with its Wildcat helicopter.
Suspecting narcotics was stashed on the ship, the Navy leaped into action and seized control of the vessel in choppy waters.
The six-hour operation saw officers uncover a secret compartment in which they discovered 870kg of crystal meth.
The bust comprehensively smashes the Navy’s previous record, which was set in 2019 by HMS Defender, who confiscated £3.3 million worth of crystal meth, also in the Arabian Sea.
Speaking about the recent record-breaking operation, a Royal Navy spokesperson said: “HMS Montrose pounced after her Wildcat helicopter located and tracked the suspect dhow until the frigate was in range to launch her boarding teams in her boats.
“Royal Marines from 42 Commando, the UK military's specialists in these operations, seized control of the vessel in choppy conditions, before sailors moved in to search the craft for any illegal cargo, while overhead the Wildcat observed proceedings and provided cover for those scouring the dhow for her illicit cargo.
“Persistence from the boarding team led to a secret compartment being found aboard the vessel, revealing hidden illegal narcotics.
“The haul was brought back to the frigate for inspection and weighing.”
HMS Montrose’s commanding officer Claire Thompson added that this was a key victory in tackling ‘the unlawful use of our oceans’.
She said: “A seizure of this size will deal a huge blow to the criminal or terrorist gangs using these illegal narcotics to fund their activity.
“This success proves we will persistently deny criminals the freedom to conduct their illegal activity on the high seas.
“Disrupting terrorist organisations, criminals and their funding lines is key to keeping to the UK, and the rest of the world, safe.
“It is a privilege to command HMS Montrose and the incredibly professional, highly-trained and dedicated personnel that I have on my team.
“I could not be prouder of each and every one of them.”
Commodore Adrian Fryer, a senior Royal Navy officer in the Middle East, congratulated the crew of the HMS Montrose for the record raid.
He said: “The professionalism of all involved, from the command of the task force through to the boarding team, is demonstrative of our commitment to maintaining rules-based order at sea.
“I look forward to continued success for CTF 150 and HMS Montrose.”
Featured Image Credit: Ministry of Defence
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