mage of the boarding team from HMS Montrose.

Royal Navy seizes over 450kg in the largest methamphetamine drug bust in the Middle East

The large bust saw millions of pounds of drugs intercepted during the operation

Sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Montrose intercepted over 450 kilograms of methamphetamine, with a wholesale value of £18 million, during a counter-narcotics operation in the Arabian Sea.

An image of Image of sailors from HMS Montrose and Royal Marines from 10 Troop M Coy 42 Cdo.
The bust prevented drugs from potentially entering the streets

The operation, which was part of the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Operation SEA SHIELD, was an international effort involving several of the CMF’s 33 member nations and partners.

An image of HMS Montrose’s Wildcat helicopter, seen here providing overwatch for members of its boarding team.
HMS Montrose’s Wildcat helicopter, seen here providing overwatch for members of its boarding team

In rough seas and aided by the ship’s Wildcat helicopter sailors and Royal Marines conducted the boarding of the suspicious vessel and during an extensive search discovered the 450kg haul hidden amongst the boat’s cargo.

Sailors and Royal Marines move to intercept the drugs

“Every sailor and marine, airman and woman, alongside our international partners, should be proud to have contributed to the success of this operation which has undoubtedly kept millions of pounds of drugs off our streets.” — Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose Commander Charles Collins

Sailors and Royal Marines move to intercept the drugs

Intercepting and boarding suspicious vessels at sea is a skilled operation, made more challenging by the threat of COVID. The ship’s medical team was responsible for de-contaminating all personnel and equipment, and specialist PPE was used throughout the boarding process.

An image of HMS Montrose Wildcat helicopter providing overwatch for members of its boarding team.
HMS Montrose Wildcat helicopter providing overwatch for members of its boarding team

“Following several large drugs busts by the Royal Navy in the Caribbean, HMS Montrose has conducted the most successful counter-methamphetamine operation ever in the Middle East.

Organised crime funds terrorism and by preventing these drugs reaching the open market HMS Montrose has directly interrupted illegal activity that causes considerable harm across the globe.” — Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey

CMF is a multinational maritime partnership that works to counter illicit non-state actors in the Gulf region, promoting stability and security across some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The main focus is counter-narcotics, counter-smuggling, suppressing piracy and encouraging regional co-operation in order to promote overall security and stability in the region.

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Stories from the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the UK Armed Forces around the globe.

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