Suffolk warship in drugs swoop

IPSWICH's adopted warship has seized cocaine worth £100 million after stopping and boarding a fishing boat in the Caribbean, the Ministry of Defence revealed today.

By Tracey Sparling

IPSWICH's adopted warship has seized cocaine worth £100 million after stopping and boarding a fishing boat in the Caribbean, the Ministry of Defence revealed today.

The frigate HMS Grafton made the seizure – one of the biggest British drug hauls of all time – after a tip-off from the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said HMS Grafton intercepted a fishing boat on Monday, after it and spy planes from the Dutch air force tracked the boat for 450 miles.


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More than 750 kilograms of pure cocaine were found in a secret compartment on the vessel.

The six South American crew on board were arrested and were due to be handed over to police when the ship arrives in Venezuela later today.

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HMS Grafton's logistics officer Lieutenant Commander Donald Walker, 32, said the initial search of the fishing boat was fruitless.

But after measurements were taken, it became clear there was a compartment hidden in a wall which contained the drugs.

The fishing boat's crew then attempted to scuttle the ship but failed.

He said HMS Grafton tracked the fishing boat for two days.

He said: "None of us got any sleep for 48 hours when the chase was on, it really was all hands on deck."

nThe news comes a month after HMS Grafton was involved in a dramatic drugs bust in the Caribbean in which 500lb of marijuana was seized. The ship's crew carried out a covert midnight operation on the suspected drug smugglers.

It is also a week after Customs officers made one of the biggest ever seizures of cocaine at Felixstowe, after smashing an international smuggling operation.

Half a tonne of the drug worth £50m was found in a container and is believed to have come from South America and been the largest haul ever destined for Scotland.

Four Scots have been arrested and charged in connection with the haul and are currently appearing in court in Airdrie.

Weblink: www.navynews.co.uk

www.royal-navy.mod.uk

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