First Drug Ship Interdiction of the Year $11m worth for French-led CTF

The French-led Combined Task Force (CTF) made significant strides in the fight against drug trafficking, with the seizure of illegal drugs valued at $11m, while operating in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman.

This interdiction marked the first seizure of the year for CTF 150 and follows on from a highly successful 2023, with 12 drug busts since the French assumed command in July 2023.

Specifically, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter Emlen Tunnell operating under the CTF 150 of the Combined Maritime Forces seized 37 kilograms of heroin, 187 kilograms of methamphetamine and five kilograms of cocaine from the vessel following a search on January 5.

Following the seizure, the Emlen Tunnell team released the dhow and disposed of the illicit drugs.

Prior to the seizure, while in support to CTF 150, Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster gathered intelligence on the dhow, which had been identified as a vessel of interest.

Information including imagery and location of the dhow was shared with the Emlen Tunnell and the French maritime patrol aircraft Wallaby, which allowed the Emlen Tunnell to track and execute the interdiction.

CTF 150 is one of five task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the world’s largest multinational naval partnership, and focuses on maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

The 39-nation naval partnership is committed to disrupting criminal and terrorist activities by restricting freedom of maneuver across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Since 2021, Combined Maritime Forces has seized more than $1 billion in illegal drugs while patrolling waters across the Middle East.