The US Navy said Tuesday that it seized $85 million worth of heroin from a fishing vessel, making it the biggest illegal drug interdiction in the Middle East by international naval forces this year.
“A US Coast Guard fast response cutter seized an estimated $85 million worth of heroin from a fishing vessel while patrolling the Gulf of Oman, Sept. 27, representing the largest illegal drug interdiction in the Middle East by international naval forces this year,” the Navy said in a statement.
An estimated 2,410 kilograms of heroin were on the fishing vessel transiting international waters.
The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a naval force of 34 member nations, was responsible for the interdiction. These forces operate in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Navy is currently in command of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which falls under the CMF.
“This sizable seizure demonstrates a profound commitment among our international partners to disrupting and deterring destabilizing activity in the region,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and CMF.
He added: “I am proud of the flawless efforts by CMF, the Saudi-led CTF 150 team and the Charles Moulthrope crew.”
Although the US Navy did not specify where the ship was heading or where it came from, the CMF has been working to stop the illicit arms and drug trade in the region. Iran or groups and militias it backs have been behind multiple intercepted shipments.
Earlier this month, the US Navy publicly confirmed that an Iranian warship seized and detained two US unmanned surface vessels in the Red Sea. This came two days after Iran tried and failed to seize a similar vessel in the Gulf.
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