Hampshire & Isle of Wight

HMS Lancaster sniper stops boat carrying £55m worth of cocaine

Royal Navy sniper
Image caption A Royal Navy sniper disabled the speedboat engine with a shot

Cocaine worth £55m has been seized after a Royal Navy sniper shot a hole in a speedboat engine during a high-speed pursuit.

The gunman was on board a Lynx helicopter sent to chase suspected drug runners by the Portsmouth-based HMS Lancaster warship.

The occupants were apprehended and 17 packages dumped in the sea were seized.

Mark Francois, minister of state for the armed forces, called it a "fantastic success".

He added: "We should be extremely proud of HMS Lancaster's actions in the Caribbean and efforts to disrupt the supply of illegal, life-destroying drugs.

"Their constant hard work and professionalism is a great international advert for the Royal Navy and our country."


Cdr Steve Moorhouse, HMS Lancaster's commanding officer, said: "Hopefully this bust will make those who choose to smuggle narcotics in the region think twice."

Image caption Seventeen packages of cocaine dumped in the sea were seized

Days earlier HMS Lancaster recovered about 1.2 tonnes of marijuana, with a UK street value of £3m, from the sea during a thunderstorm.

It had been ditched from a speedboat during an "all night game of cat-and-mouse" with the navy helicopter, a spokesman said.

Those onboard were arrested by the authorities once the boat entered Costa Rican waters.

In August the warship seized a stash of cocaine worth £100m from a speedboat near Puerto Rico.

It is on patrol with the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment as part of a multi-national effort to combat drug smuggling until the end of the year.

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