U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Navy Seize Drugs Worth $45 Million

HMS Trent personnel
Boarding teams from HMS Trent (Courtesy Royal Navy)

Published Apr 7, 2024 8:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S Coast Guard and the Royal Navy have announced the seizure of drugs worth more than $45 million in three different intercepts, all within the span of two weeks.

On Friday, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell offloaded more than 1,850 pounds of cocaine in Miami seized from a speedboat south of Puerto Rico. The drugs have a street value of $24.3 million, and five suspected smugglers were detained.

A day later, Royal Navy warship HMS Trent seized 200 kilograms of cocaine and other drugs worth $21.1 million in two separate busts in the Caribbean.

In the first incident, British sailors, Royal Marines and a US Coast Guard team deployed pursuit boats from the warship and gave chase to a speedboat, leading to the seizure. Trent was back in action 48 hours later and working with a US Coast Guard patrol aircraft, managed to track and intercept another speedboat.

Following the latest operations, the Royal Navy warship has now seized drugs worth $388 million since she began operating in the Caribbean at the end of last year. In February, she seized $278.7 million of cocaine and other drugs, plus $88.6 million of cocaine in January.

Trent, which usually operates in the Mediterranean and off Africa’s west coast, was deployed to the Caribbean to clamp down on drug runners in December last year. The patrol ship replaced destroyer HMS Dauntless.

“The efforts to counter illicit smuggling in the Caribbean are truly a collaboration between the Coast Guard and our federal partners and regional allies. The Coast Guard will continue to do our part to deny drug trafficking networks access to maritime smuggling routes in support of the National Drug Control Strategy,” said Capt. John B. McWhite, chief of enforcement for Coast Guard District Seven.