HMS Argyll Seizes $15 Million In Cocaine

October 28, 2014

The HMS Argyll seized over 200Kg [441lbs] of cocaine with what was said to be an estimated street value of $15 million only a day after leaving Bermuda, where the ship had been assisting with the clean-up following Hurricane Gonzalo.

After spending four days in Bermuda, she was returning to the Caribbean when the ship encountered a suspect yacht in the North Atlantic around 150 miles south of the Island.

The yacht was detected by the ship’s Lynx Helicopter and then closed by the frigate for a subsequent board and search operation. The search yielded several bales of cocaine weighing in at over 200Kg.

Governor George Fergusson, said that “while it was too early to be sure of the destination of the drugs, there had to be a fair chance that some of it at least was intended for Bermuda.

“The ship and her crew appear to have done us a remarkable double service,” added the Governor.

Slideshow showing the HMS Argyll in Dockyard after the hurricane

HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Hammond, said: “I am most proud of my ship’s company. We put our all in to helping Bermuda after Hurricane Gonzalo; so to sail and immediately conduct a slick interception of a drug smuggling vessel has taken dedication and the utmost professionalism.”

As part of her counter narcotics operations with partner nations, HMS Argyll carries a US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment [LEDET].

To conduct the board and search of the suspect yacht members of the LEDET and the ship’s crew were launched in the ship’s boats. The search operation revealed the presence of drugs hidden throughout the yacht and the two crew members were taken into custody.

The counter narcotics work, which is HMS Argyll’s second drugs seizure after a $35 million seizure in August, is part of Operation Martillo, a 15-nation collaborative effort to deny trans-national criminal organisations air and maritime access to the littoral regions of Central America, and focus on putting a stop to the illegal movement of drugs from South America.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Lois Frederick says:

    Does that mean they were caught in Bermuda waters? Will they be brought here for trial? I would think a patrol of the waters between the Bahamas and Bermuda by HMS Argyll would be a good idea as part of their itinerary. They might catch a few more.

    • Me says:

      No, the article says they were 150 miles South of Bermuda, which puts them inside Bermuda’s exclusive economic zone but well into international waters. I’m not sure who they will be tried by…….. but probably not us. And a good thing too in my opinion – our ‘justice’ system is overloaded as it is and the prison is far too nice!

      • Chumba Womba says:

        I say set these guys free and seize the yacht and destroy the cocaine. The punishment they will receive from the dealers with be far worse .

  2. smitty says:

    Excellent job to the captain and crew of this vessel. I’ve said it before,Bermuda needs a costal patrol to monitor the activity in and around the island of Bermuda. Again,wonderful job!!!

    • Micro says:

      It’s one of the voids which the Bermuda Regiment should be filling; they are charged with national security after all. Patrolling our waters and conducting such searches on suspect vessels, for drugs and weapons.

      • Kunta says:

        An Island surrounded by water, no Navy = PATHETIC.

        • Chumba Womba says:

          Something tells me if this government decided to invest hundreds of millions to purchase the types of ships, helicopters and weapons required to patrol waters 150 + miles offshore and staff them you would be the first Kunta to complain.

          What do propose Kunta? A fleet of four single engine, 25′ boston whalers with two regiment officers each, flashlights and billy sticks?

  3. HIGHER ECHELON says:

    that much weight proves it was NOT meant for Bermuda, that would be excessive and no kingpin/dealer would import/export way too much product as it involves too much risk. Most likely headed for another larger nation.

  4. HIGHER ECHELON says:

    and by the way, $200/gram minimum price for coke means that the true value of the shipment in bermuda would have been almost THREE times what is quoted here:

    200 X 28 X 16 X 440 = $39,424,000

    cannabis prices are almost reaching cocaine prices in bermuda, they should follow suit with the rest of the world and legalize cannabis!!!!!!! for medicinal reasons and cancer-killing reasons, alone!

    • Micro says:

      Only if used for tea and baking!! Smoking is bad for your health.

    • Harry says:

      Thank you Higher Echelon, but I’ll stick with the current laws. I don’t want my kids having easy access to cannabis. We all know in many cases you start with this, and move through the gears.

      • Bermy says:

        Your are dillusional if you think you children do not have easy access to cannabis now!

      • do ya homework says:

        The only bad thing about cannabis is that its illegal. Why dont people go on google type cannabis facts and do their homework before they punish their children for choosing buds over yeast

        • do ya homework says:

          Remember alcohol was illegal. I dont see cocaine being legalised

      • Stu says:

        It’s easy to get it now mate. Legalising it just makes it safer to get.

      • Raw Connoisseur says:

        People like you live in this disbelief that if cannabis is legal its going to a free for all & everybody will use it. In countries such as Netherlands, Portugal & Uruguay where cannabis is tolerated & also legal less teenagers use it. In Colorado they have had a historic low number of road fatalities. Its been since 1937 Wwhen Harry J. Anslinger outlawed cannabis for racial reasons & in 1971 when Nixon launched the “War on Drugs” even when he had reports that said cannabis was much safer then alcohol. From then to now all drugs have be more available & cannabis has become a lot better a& drug dealers keep getting richer. You go in any middle or high school & will find cannabis. Its easier to get cannabis then alcohol because cannabis isn’t regulate like alcohol. You should really do some research before you make stupid statements like that. WAKE UP AND STOP LIVING IN FEAR!!

    • Chumba Womba says:

      The rest of the world has legalized it? I know Colorodao has legalized it, and a few other states have for “medicinal” use but most places have decriminalized it not legalized it.

  5. WOW! Job well done by all who’d been involved in this seizure…

  6. X says:

    When the commander was interviewed while in Bermuda, I noticed that when he mentioned they are also involved in counter narcotics, he was abruptly cut off by the editor …! Perhaps they didn’t want to give to much info. Congrats tho, it is the scourge of our society.

  7. sswhite says:

    A suspect yacht? On the ocean? You don’t say…

    I am not as delusional as some to believe that these drugs won’t eventually find their way into some ivy league students nostrils or converted to crack for some street hoodlum to smoke but the real question to me is what the hell gives these jack-holes the right to board vessels in this manner on open water?

    Where are peoples individual rights? I would like the reporter of this story to ask “What exactly made this yacht suspect? Further what legislation allows for the searching of private property without a warrant?”

    I actually know the disgusting answer to these questions – am just waiting to be amused by the responses to my comment….

    • Micro says:

      There are rules to the open ocean/international waters.

      It’s legal to carry out a search without a warrant if there is reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. Much like stop and search practices on land or the ability for officers to enter a premise.

      People like to say the police don’t do enough but then complain when they stop them to ask you some questions or are inconvenienced by them doing their jobs.

    • PBanks says:

      What are the answers, sswhite?

    • Brigadooner says:

      Don’t worry sswhite there will be another shipment soon enough for you.

    • Sad says:

      Was that your shipment they confiscated?

      At least this dangerous drug is being dealt with by the proper authorities as opposed to the drug peddlers who profit off of destroying lives.

  8. flikel says:

    I find operations like this interesting.

    150 miles South of Bermuda leads me to believe that this yacht was caught in Bermuda’s waters. In which case, does the Argyll need ‘permission’ from Bermuda to conduct such operations in Bermuda’s waters? Likewise, a police officer from the UK cannot come to Bermuda and have the power to arrest people without the permission of the Bermuda Police or the Governor.

    Can such operations be carried out in International waters? Drug laws vary from country to country and what is legal in some, may be illegal in others.

    • Bermy says:

      Bermuda territorial waters I believe only extend 12 miles, the exclusive economic zone is I think 200 miles.

    • Me says:

      As ‘Bermy’ says, Bermuda’s territorial waters extend out only 12 miles. I’m not sure, but I believe the rights to search are granted by the country that the vessel in question is registered to. Technically, one can consider a vessel to be the territory of it’s country of registration, so that country has to give permission. in practice, there are standing agreements between several nations whereby enforcement vessels belonging to certain nations have pre-consent to search those registered in others. There have however been instances where vessels belonging to certain nations have been considered ‘suspect’, the enforcement body has had to ‘request permission’ from the occupants to board, that permission has been denied and the enforcement body has been forced not to board. In one example i can think of all they could do was to track the suspect boat, inform both the flag nation and the destination nation (which was pretty obvious – it was here) of their suspicions and hand the situation over to Bermuda. Lo and behold, the boat was full of drugs. BDA radio, customs and the police force followed it, allowed the drugs to be offloaded and then arrested both the importers and the locals who came to do the pickup. It was a pretty successful operation if i remember correctly, only a couple of years ago.

  9. Bernews can you please keep a follow up on this particular story, and I for one would be very interested if the owners of this vessel….and then was those who were on board

    Hopefully when the full facts are released we will be better informed openly across the board who really runs the drug trade in this Island, I have said for years, that the jokers we see at west gate is just fall guys for the real culprits who destroy the fabric of our society by the greed that they have, so many go under for the likes of others who never get touched.

    • Bermy says:

      This vessel was clearly not heading to Bermuda with the intent to drop it’s load here, far to much weight on board for our small island. Was likely under surveillance while leaving the Caribbean/ South America and the skipper was likely very surprised to “run into” a UK warship so far out into the ocean.

      • @ Bermy If you truly believe that this volume of drugs does not enter our ports on a regular basis, on crafts like this, then you are a bigger joker then you sound, and I take my hat’s off to the authorities that have seized this crap. so in the mean time you are entitled to your opinion but I say stay in your lane because you don’t have a damn clue, The drug trade in Bermuda presently nets more profit then our whole tourism industry, you do the math bright one. International business is first, drugs second and tourism last.

  10. Maybe they were tipped off on this yacht coming to Bermuda in the first place with narcotics. So therefore that’s why they were probably cut off during the interview. It seems they were given info on this particular vessel so therefore timed their journey perfectly with the yacht, ever thought of that ??????

  11. damn.... says:

    Well…there goes the Christmas party…guess ill just have to stick to boozing heavily and putting money back in the bars pockets.

  12. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    don’t worry ya’ll…its safely in the rightful owners hands now.