Dead in the water: A Royal Marine sniper blew a hole in the boat’s engines. *Photo supplied
Dead in the water: A Royal Marine sniper blew a hole in the boat’s engines. *Photo supplied
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A warship that passed through Bermuda earlier this summer has intercepted nearly $60 million of cocaine and cannabis in just a few days.

HMS Lancaster stopped into the island for three nights in June on her way to a six-month deployment in the Caribbean.

And since leaving these shores the Type 42 frigate and her crew have enjoyed huge success in the fight against illegal drug trafficking. Just last Thursday Lancaster’s Lynx helicopter was scrambled into action to track down a speedboat carrying more than 400kg of pure cocaine in the Western Caribbean.

A Royal Marine sniper in the helicopter then blew a hole in speedboat’s engines during a high-speed chase leaving the craft ‘dead in the
water’.

The ship's crew quickly hauled aboard the drugs stash, while a US Coastguard team picked up the drugs runners.

“This is another fantastic result for Lancaster — and the multi-national counter-narcotics effort as a whole,” said Commander Steve Moorhouse, HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer. 

“The level of cooperation that exists between units and nations working with the Joint Interagency Task Force is second to none and hopefully this bust will make those who choose to smuggle narcotics in the region think twice.”

Just days earlier, the Portsmouth-based warship recovered 1.2 tons of marijuana in treacherous sea conditions after the drugs had been ditched by a speedboat they had pursued.

In the middle of a violent thunderstorm the crew hauled the 45 packets of contraband aboard before they sank or floated away.

As soon as the speedboat entered Costa Rican waters they were arrested by the authorities, who were waiting for their arrival.

The cocaine seizure is HMS Lancaster’s sixth drugs bust of her deployment.

During September £3.5m of marijuana was intercepted, £100m of cocaine was seized in August as well as £700,000 of cannabis and the ship also significantly disrupted marijuana and heroin trafficking. The ship is on her fourth counter-narcotics patrol of the Caribbean region this deployment, and will continue to combat the drugs trafficking until the end of the year.

Her patrols are part of Operation Martillo, a combined effort by 15 nations to prevent criminal organizations from moving goods by air or sea in Central America, and stopping drugs trafficking from South America to the Caribbean and on to the UK. n