Sailors and British Royal Marines dealt a pre-Christmas blow to smugglers with a £3.3m drugs bust in the Middle East. The crew of destroyer HMS Defender pounced on a suspicious dhow as they swept the northern Arabian Sea for smugglers and traffickers.
A day-long search by the warship’s boarding teams ended in success with 11 bags of crystal meth discovered – worth an estimated £3.3m ($4.27m) had they made it to the streets of the U.K.
HMS Defender’s success came thanks to the alertness of her helicopter crew during a dawn patrol over the northern Arabian Sea. Their Wildcat located a solo dhow not flying any flag or showing any evidence that it was carrying out any fishing. That prompted the destroyer to investigate, sending Royal Marines across in sea boats to secure the dhow and its crew, and Royal Navy sailors to conduct a thorough search of the vessel while the Wildcat hovered overhead to provide protection.
The sailors located 11 mail-bag-sized sacks, some weighing up to 15-20 kilograms and suspected of containing crystal methamphetamines. The total haul was 131kg.