Royal Navy frigate seizes 2.4 tons of drugs in Arabian Sea

The Royal Navy has intercepted over 2.4 tons of illicit drugs as a result of back-to-back successful interdictions in the Arabian Sea.

The boarding team from the navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose, operating under the command of CMF Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), found the drugs – with a combined estimated wholesale value of over $15 million – following searches of suspicious vessels whilst undertaking a counter-narcotics patrol.

Royal Navy drugs
Photo: CMF/Royal Navy

In the most recent operation, which lasted over ten hours, over 2,145 kg of hashish, heroin, and methamphetamine were seized. This came just two days after a separate bust in which 275 kg of heroin was seized in the same area.

“These interdictions have prevented significant amounts of illicit substances being sold on the streets, whilst denying criminal groups an income source often associated with the funding of terrorism,” Commander Ollie Hucker, HMS Montrose Commanding Officer, said.

CTF-150 operates to disrupt the activity of criminal organisations, in particular narcotics and weapons smuggling. After taking command of the task force in late January 2021, the Royal Canadian Navy has already overseen multiple significant successful interdictions, of which these two are the latest.

“As Commander of Combined Task Force 150, my team is resolute in our objective to promote security, stability and prosperity in an area which comprises some of the world’s most important shipping routes,” Commodore Dan Charlebois, Commander of CTF-150, said.

HMS Montrose is the Royal Navy’s forward deployed frigate and has been in the region since early 2019. The UK actively supports several operations and multi-national task forces in the Middle East in order to protect international and British interests.

HMS Montrose last made a drugs bust in October 2020 when sailors and marines seized 450 kilograms of methamphetamine, which was the largest ever seizure of methamphetamines by the Royal Navy in the Gulf.

Photo: CMF/Royal Navy