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HMS Montrose Seizes Heroin and Meth in Back-to-Back Busts

Montrose drug busts
Image courtesy Royal Navy

Published Feb 18, 2021 10:10 PM by Royal Navy News

Drugs worth $15 million will never reach the streets – or fund terrorist activities – after the Royal Navy swooped on traffickers twice in two days in the Middle East. HMS Montrose pounced on suspicious dhows in the Arabian Sea, resulting in a haul of nearly two-and-a-half tonnes of illegal narcotics.

The frigate – which is based in Bahrain on a three-year security mission – was on patrol as part of an international task force focused on policing Middle Eastern waters. In hot, dirty conditions, her Royal Marines boarding team scoured the two craft for hours on end to recover the illegal cargoes.

“Having secured the vessel with my Royal Marines, we discovered the drugs in large bundled sacks, all containing individually wrapped packages. As soon as we opened the bags we were pretty confident it was an illicit substance,” boarding team leader Lieutenant Gorton (RM) said of the first bust.

Image courtesy Royal Navy

The scores of red sacks his commandos located in a 12-hour operation turned out to be packed with heroin – 275 kilos in all, worth around $7.4 million.

Just 36 hours later, his team was racing through the Northern Arabian Sea again in Montrose’s fast boat to inspect another dhow. The marines found a trove of illegal narcotics: hundreds of bags and sacks of hashish, heroin, and methamphetamine. It took them more than ten hours to recover them all.

“Everywhere we looked onboard there were suspicious packages,” said Lieutenant Gorton. “We soon realized how much we had interdicted.”

The overall tally was 2,145 kilos of illegal narcotics in all with a street value of $7.8 million. 

It’s the third triumph of the winter for Montrose, which seized 450 kilos ($25 million) of methamphetamine – the largest seizure of crystal meth by the Royal Navy in the Gulf – in October.

The two hauls came on Montrose’s first week attached to the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150, charged with patrolling more than three million square miles of ocean (14 times the size of the North Sea), encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

“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,” said Commodore Dan Charlebois Royal Canadian Navy, the task force’s commander.

This article appears courtesy of Royal Navy News and is reproduced here in an abbreviated form. The original may be found here