UK Navy Ship Thwarts Drug Runners

UK Navy Ship Thwarts Drug Runners

Two drug runners whose attempts to deliver at least £9m cannabis across the Caribbean were thwarted by RFA Wave Knight face life behind bars in the USA. Yugool Persaud and Desmond Wilson – both from Guyana – were both found guilty of trafficking offences at a court in Florida following their arrest in September.

Two drug runners whose £9m cargo of cannabis was intercepted by sailors on tanker RFA Wave Knight have been convicted in Florida.

Yugool Persaud and Desmond Wilson – both from Guyana – face a maximum punishment of life behind bars in a US jail when sentenced in February after they were found guilty of two counts of violating America’s Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.

The pair had been sailing a known trafficking route in the Caribbean in the fishing vessel Miss Tiffany.

When the tanker – on a 16-month deployment to the region – came across the small boat, Wilson and Persaud began tossing bales over the side.

Some 55 of those bales were recovered by sailors in one Wave Knight’s sea boats and brought aboard the auxiliary.

At the same time, a US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment used the tanker’s other boat to board Miss Tiffany and detained the two crew.

In all 1.2 tons (1276 Kg) of cannabis with a street value of around £6.4m were recovered during the bust back in September.

An estimated further 1,200lbs (540kg) of drugs are believed to have sunk before the sailors could haul the bales out of the Caribbean.

While the trial before a federal jury in Tampa was taking place, Wave Knight has been paying a short visit to Barbados before continuing her counter-narcotics patrol of the Caribbean region.

Despite being one of the larger vessels in the Naval Service – 196 metres (643ft) long and 31,500 tonnes – the tanker has been demonstrating her deft manoeuvrability with some sharp turns at high speed (about 18knots) in rough(ish) seas, captured by amateur photographer LH(C) Steve Gill in Wave Knight’s sea boat.

His ship has been away from the UK since January on the Atlantic Patrol North mission – joined since high summer by HMS Lancaster, although the frigate is turning for home shortly – and won’t be returning to Britain until the spring.

Press Release, November 27, 2013; Image: Royal Navy