Mideast naval coalition making massive drug busts
By CHRIS CHURCH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 15, 2017
MANAMA, Bahrain — U.S.-led combined maritime forces made a large heroin bust on Monday in the Arabian Sea, just days after finding approximately $36 million worth of hashish hidden in a consignment of coffee, a statement said Tuesday.
The guided missile destroyer USS Laboon seized 270 kilograms of heroin concealed on a dhow tracked by a helicopter from the British navy’s ship RFA Fort Victoria. On March 2, the Australian navy ship HMAS Arunta found a 800-kilogram hashish stash, according to a combined maritime forces statement.
Both ships are operating as part of Combined Task Force 150, which focuses on maritime security and counter-terrorism throughout the Middle East. CTF 150 is part of the U.S.-led combined maritime forces, a 31-nation naval partnership which operates across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters including some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
The busts prevent terrorists from profiting from these “nefarious activities,” said combined maritime forces commander Vice. Adm. Kevin Donegan, also the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
“The continued successes of CTF 150 demonstrate the value of the multinational collective of like-minded nations that make up the combined maritime forces and certify that when navies work together all nations profit with increased maritime security.”