HMS Dragon, operating under the Combined Maritime Forces, has conducted her second major seizure of narcotics in less than two weeks. The Type 45 Destroyer was on patrol as part of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 when the crew found and destroyed more than 500kg of drugs, including nearly 200kg of Heroin and 9kg of crystal methamphetamine.
The drugs would have sold locally for more than $2.1 million US dollars and for many times that had they made it to their final markets. These sales of illicit drugs are a known source of funding for terrorist groups and criminal networks. This year CTF 150 has destroyed 49,255 kg of illicit drugs.
CTF 150 has recently come under the command of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The Task Force is led by Commodore Darren Garnier RCN. He was delighted to achieve such a result so early in his command: “I thank HMS Dragon for its continued vigilance and support to CTF 150 so early in our tenure of command, and for a superbly executed drug interdiction operation. This seizure of illicit drugs is continuing to deny terrorists the use of the high seas as a pathway for illegal activity”.
HMS Dragon encountered the suspicious dhow on the “Smack Track” smuggling route running from the Makran Coast of Iran and Pakistan to the shores of East Africa. Lt Jonathan Bennett is one of HMS Dragon’s Officers of the Watch and also the ship’s Royal Naval Boarding Officer. He was on watch on the bridge when he spotted something unusual: “I had just taken over the watch when I spotted this dhow, and whilst a common sight within the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, this was in an unusual area for the size of vessel. It looked suspicious, and as we closed in on the vessel, the boarding teams went out in the sea boats to talk to the crew of the dhow. Their answers raised our suspicions further, and so we started a boarding. Following a search by our trained teams we were able to locate and recover these narcotics, stopping their onward likely travel to their final markets, as well as disrupting the funding of illicit activity”.
Commander Michael Carter Quinn, the Commanding Officer of HMS Dragon, is delighted to be working for CTF 150 again and have another success under the new command: “to achieve this seizure, so swiftly after the last, is demonstration of the hard work and professionalism of all the Dragons on board. I am delighted for the new team at CTF 150 to start their Command so positively”.
CMF is a multi-national military organisation based in Bahrain. CMF’s purpose is to maintain maritime security in the busy sea lanes of the Middle East. HMS Dragon will spend the period over Christmas at sea continuing her support to CTF 150 and her great work ensuring the security of the high seas.