Dutch, British Forces Intercept $200M in Cocaine and Methamphetamine

royal navy
Royal Marines from RFA Argus set out for a drug bust (Royal Navy)

Published Oct 4, 2020 6:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Working with U.S. and Dutch forces, a Royal Navy task group has intercepted drugs worth more than $200 million in the Caribbean.

RFA Argus, alongside her Wildcat and Merlin helicopters, Royal Marines and US Coast Guard teams, worked with Dutch Navy ship HNLMS Groningen to seize 1.7 tonnes of cocaine and 28 kilos of amphetamines.

The bust was the second in two days after seizing 264 kilos of cocaine in a separate operation in the region just 48 hours before.

The first of the two recent busts came when two suspicious vessels were spotted near RFA Argus and patrol ship Groningen. A Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron was launched with a Royal Marine sniper team from 42 Commando on board. The helicopter team stopped the suspect vessels before a team of Royal Marines, U.S. Coast Guardsmen and personnel from HNLMS Groningen boarded the vessels to undertake the search.

Images courtesy Royal Navy

Just two days later, RFA Argus was conducting routine training when one of its Merlin helicopters spotted a suspicious craft. Argus changed course to give chase and the Merlin and Wildcat helicopters worked with HNLMS Groningen to allow the US Coast Guard to intercept the craft.

“Collectively we secured and apprehended a number of smugglers and a large quantity of contraband," said Commanding Officer of RFA Argus Captain Kevin Rimell. “These are challenging times and we ask a lot of our people so it is encouraging to see that our training and professionalism continues to shine through.”

The Royal Navy Caribbean task group have now seized nearly $320 million worth of drugs after three more drugs busts last month.

Drugs seized by RFA Argus' task force (Image courtesy USCG)