HMS Montrose Seizes Over $15 Million Worth of Narcotics in Arabian Sea

HMS Montrose Seizes Over $15 Million Worth of Narcotics in Arabian Sea

The Royal Navy has intercepted over 5300 lbs (2400 kg) of illicit drugs as a result of back-to-back successful interdictions in the Arabian Sea.

The boarding team from 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 (£10.9m) – following searches of suspicious vessels whilst undertaking a counter-narcotics patrol.

HMS Montrose ship’s company assemble on the flight deck with a large quantity of narcotics seized from a dhow in the Arabian Gulf. (Photo: LS(EW) Parsons RN)

In the most recent operation, which lasted over ten hours, over 4700 lbs (2145 kg) of hashish, heroin, and methamphetamine were seized. This came just two days after a separate bust in which 606 lbs (275 kg) of heroin was seized in the same area.

Commander Ollie Hucker, HMS Montrose Commanding Officer said; “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.”

A suspicious dhow shown through the bridge binoculars onboard HMS Montrose. (Photo Lt Cdr Steve Jones RN)

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,” said Commodore Dan Charlebois, Commander of CTF-150.

The crew of HMS Montrose stand with 275kg heroin seized from a suspect dhow. (Photo: AET Josh Edwards RN)

“This interdiction was a direct result of the collaborative effort between Task Force staff and HMS Montrose, to whose crew I send my personal thanks for their skill, determination and professionalism in a challenging environment. I look forward to future successes as we continue to work together as close partners towards our common goals.”

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.

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