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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 October 2007, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Navy ship in massive cocaine haul
HMS Portland. Crown Copyright/MOD 2007
HMS Portland's crew approach the boat. Crown Copyright/MOD 2007
Plymouth-based Royal Navy warship HMS Portland has seized about two tonnes of cocaine in a drugs bust.

The ship was on patrol in the North Atlantic when one of her Lynx helicopters found a suspicious looking fishing vessel.

As HMS Portland approached the crew were seen throwing packages over the side of the Venezuelan-registered boat.

The vessel is now being escorted to Venezuela where the local authorities will take over.

Commanding Officer, Cdr Mike Utley said: "I'm delighted to have taken this amount of drugs out of circulation.

"This is the culmination of five months of hard work and dedication.

Cocaine bales. Crown Copyright/MOD 2007
Cocaine was stored in bales. Crown Copyright/MOD 2007
"This drugs bust is the icing on the cake for what has been an extremely successful deployment."

Type 23 frigate HMS Portland, which has been working closely with US coastguards, has made a number of boardings over the past five months, although this is the first time drugs have been seized.

The crew of another vessel ditched 3.3 tonnes of cocaine before she was intercepted.

HMS Portland, which returns to Plymouth at Christmas, has also been involved in the relief effort in Belize following Hurricane Dean.

Royal Navy video of drugs seizure


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