A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster.

Crews from the Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster observe as the smuggler’s boat burns in the background. The HMS Lancaster is on patrol with a team from the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment as part of a multi-national effort to combat drug smuggling in the Caribbean. Photo: Royal Navy

By Rachel Savage

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) –The U.K. Royal Navy recorded its biggest seizure of illegal drugs in four years in an operation near Puerto Rico.

The Royal Navy confiscated cocaine with an estimated street value of 100 million pounds ($155.2 million) from a speedboat earlier this week, Damien Elvin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence in London, said in a phone interview. The date of the operation has yet to be disclosed, he said.

A Lynx helicopter from the HMS Lancaster and a high-speed pursuit boat intercepted the 30-foot vessel and three suspected smugglers after a U.S. Customs and Border Agency aircraft spotted the boat in the Caribbean Sea off the U.S. territory.

Royal Navy divers recovered the 1,499 pound stash after the three men threw it overboard. The men were handed over to Puerto Rican authorities and the boat sunk by Royal Navy gunfire as per standard practice, according to an e-mailed statement today from the ministry.

“It is an amazing feeling to get such a great bust and stop millions of pounds worth of cocaine hitting the streets,” said Able Seaman James Duffy, coxswain of one of Lancaster’s Sea Boats, according to the ministry statement.

The U.S. Coast Guard has seized 45,200 pounds of cocaine and 8,500 pounds of marijuana during 22 operations in the past year, according to the U.K. ministry.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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  • Timbo

    How much did that bust cost? Meanwhile, 50 other boats got in. What a waste of money and time.

    • frank black

      The HMS Lancaster has a Coast Guard team onboard. When engaging in a law enforcement mission, the CG takes control which gives them the authority (14 USC 89, pretty sweeping authority!!) to board these vessels. The CG ensign is hoisted to signal this authority.

      • Timbo

        Bureaucracy exists at sea as well I see.

  • http://popitin.com Pete Dooley

    ““It is an amazing feeling to get such a great bust and stop millions of pounds worth of cocaine hitting the streets,”.

    It hits the streets son.

  • hopperdredgbill

    Who did the Brits report the oil spill resulting from their sinking of the smugglers boat? If you or I spilled that much fuel and LO we would be required to report it or face fines and possible jail time.

    • Timbo

      That’s government caused climate change. We have to rein in government then and make it almost impossible to function. We should denounce government as evil since they are only concerned with their operations and will do so at our peril. We are all going to boil alive now.

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