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Widnes sailor in £3m Caribbean drugs bust
A WIDNES sailor helped to capture £3 million worth of marijuana in a dramatic Caribbean drugs bust.
Dad-of-two Steve Malone, serving on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Naval Support ship Wave Knight was on an independent maritime security patrol when a suspicious craft was spotted and intercepted.
It was operating in support of the Royal Navy and the UK’s overseas territories.
After a tense chase as the suspected drug dealers tried to escape, 55 bales of jettisoned drugs, 2,812lbs of marijuana were recovered.
Steve, a leading hand engineer, aged 62, was placed in command of the prize crew. He took the fishing vessel, Miss Tiffany, in hand and assisted in safely delivering it to Jamaica.
He said: “What an adrenalin rush! One minute I was eating dinner planning my next repair job and the next it was all hands on deck.
“The entire ship’s company are delighted with the result and it just goes to show that if you work and train hard, you will eventually get your just rewards. Mind you it was a shame that I had to give the boat back.”
Steve has two grown up children, Sarah and Mark and is married to Drinda. He has been onboard since July.
Subsequent boarding operations, preservation of evidence and detention of seven crew members were carried out as prosecution papers are being prepared.
Although the crew of Wave Knight was unable to recover all the jettisoned bales before they sank, the total disruption was estimated as being in the region of 4,000lb, or a tonne and three quarters, with a street value of approximately £4.5 million.
RFA Wave Knight - a 31,500 tonne Fleet Tanker - is currently deployed to the Caribbean in support of Atlantic Patrol Tasking North and HMS Lancaster. This is part of the UK’s year round commitment to the region in support of the Overseas Territories, Disaster Relief and Counter Narcotic Operations.
Wave Knight has been involved in several counter drug bust operations this year with over 1 tonne of drug disruptions currently to her name.