RAF Reapers uncover Afghan drugs haul
22 August 2012
Royal Air Force Reaper drones have helped uncover drugs with a street value of over £10m after coordinating raids on two suspect vehicles in Afghanistan, it has been announced.
The Reapers, piloted by members of the RAF's 39 Squadron, tracked two vehicles remotely after concluding that they were likely to contain the hidden compartments typically used by drug traffickers. One vehicle was low on its suspension while the rear of a flatbed truck appeared too shallow, suggesting a hidden storage area.
A raid on the two vehicles by Afghan National Security Forces and the US Marine Corps led to the seizure of 1,208kg of dry opium and 59kg of processed heroin.
Four weapons were also confiscated and several drug traffickers detained during the raid in southern Helmand.
The US street price for the heroin was estimated at $14,750,000, and the opium and heroin hauls are thought to have denied local drug trafficking gangs around $10m.
Officer Commanding 39 Sqn, Wing Commander Andy Bird, said: "We were delighted, as this sort of success deprives the Taliban of resources and it helps keep drugs off the streets of the UK too.
"It was a very good spot indeed and I was very proud of the whole team. We are contributing directly to bringing stability to Afghanistan as we prepare to hand over responsibility to the Afghan security forces."