Cocaine cartels’annus horribilis will get worse as Marines give chase | UK | News | EUROtoday

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It would appear that 2024 is shaping as much as be an annus horribilis for South America’s notorious cocaine cartels.

After Bolivia boasted about one of many greatest drug seizures in historical past in January, elite Commandos from the UK have been concerned in two large raids after dramatic high-speed chases within the Caribbean.

Royal Navy (RN) patrol vessel HMS Trent, sailors, Royal Marines and a USCG boarding mixed abilities to intercept suspected smuggling speedboats on two events close to US Virgin Islands, within the Caribbean.

Describing the primary incident, an RN spokesperson mentioned: “A high-octane chase ensued under moonlight as the smugglers tried to offload their illegal cargo, but Royal Marines coxswains and the USCG boarding team closed in, took control of the vessel and detained four crew members.

“The smugglers started jettisoning their unlawful cargo as they fled in direction of land. But Trent, her quick sea boats and an American patrol plane gave chase – ultimately recovering 94 bales of class-a narcotics, weighing 2,757kg and price £220.56m.”

READ NEXT UK’S biggest ever cocaine seizure – 5.7 tonnes worth £450m found in bananas

A marine from Plymouth-based 47 Commando – an elite commando unit that specialises in amphibious assaults and raiding – was driving one of the pursuing seaboats.

The ‘bootneck’, who cannot be named for operational reasons, said: “This was a difficult operation and required us to push the boats to their restrict.

“Despite their best efforts to evade us, and with our boats and the ship bearing down on them at speed, the 38ft go-fast finally gave up the chase and we were able to get alongside and enable members of the US Coast Guard to seize the vessel.”

As the solar rose over the Caribbean, HMS Trent’s 60-strong crew scoured the ocean for the deserted cargo.

After an in depth ten-hour search throughout 24 sq. miles, the sailors ultimately recovered 29 bales of cocaine – weighing in at a whopping 876kg, with a worth of round $90m.

The officer accountable for the USCG staff, who can’t be named for operational causes, mentioned: “Being able to recover such a large cargo of contraband over a 24-mile search area is unheard of and speaks to the level of skill the crew of HMS Trent has demonstrated.”

“The size of this bust is rarely seen in the region, and it is one of the largest single seizures in recent memory.”

Incredibly, lightning was to strike twice – and this bust was to be eclipsed simply weeks later, by one other Royal Navy coordinated operation with the USCG and a US Maritime Patrol Aircraft. HMS Trent’s sea boats – crewed by sailors, USCG personnel and Royal Marines – labored with the plane to pursue one other speedboat, staying scorching on its heels throughout one other high-speed nighttime chase.

This time, The traffickers dumped 20 bales of narcotics – which, once more, have been later recovered by HMS Trent. The smugglers ran aground and have been detained by authorities on the US Virgin Islands – the place an extra 74 bales have been seized.

In all, the 94 bales of narcotics weighed in at an astonishing 2,757kg – 2.75 metric tons – and have been price £220.56m, or round $280m. Astonishingly, this is not even near being this 12 months’s greatest medicine haul.

Back in January, Bolivia introduced a document cocaine seizure – 8.8 metric tons of the stuff, price round £412m, or $526 million, on the streets of Europe, the place it was regarded as headed.

Bolivia President Luis Arce mentioned the cocaine which, has been camouflaged as picket tiles and was being transported in a truck, was destined for the Netherlands.

And, in February, round 5.7 tonnes of cocaine – believed to be the most important ever seizure of sophistication A medicine within the UK and price about £450 million on the streets – was present in a container carrying bananas at Southampton Port.

Regarding the most recent seizures within the Caribbean, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps mentioned: “This operation sends a clear message: The Royal Navy remains resolute in its efforts to disrupt and dismantle the operations of drug traffickers across the world. We will continue to ensure that those who seek to profit from illegal drugs face the full force of justice.

“I’d wish to congratulate the ship’s firm for his or her invaluable work conserving unlawful medicine off our streets.”