Friday, July 10, 2009

CTF 150 Seizes 10 Tons of Narcotics

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Coalition forces operating in the Gulf of Aden as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, seized approximately 10 tons of narcotics July 7 with an estimated value of $70 million.

A U.S. Navy maritime patrol (P-3) aircraft and a British warship located and tracked the vessel in the Gulf of Aden and then the crew from the UK ship boarded the dhow approximately 150 miles southeast of Salalah, Oman. This drug seizure is the largest by coalition naval forces in 2009.

"The seizure of these drugs takes money out of the hands of those financing terrorists in the region," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, Combined Maritime Forces. "The smugglers need to know that coalition forces are patrolling the seas and skies above. These efforts send a message to all would-be smugglers that we are here and we won't tolerate drug trafficking in international waters."

During the boarding, coalition Sailors discovered the drugs in vessels operating along the so-called 'Hash Highway' and destroyed large quantities of narcotics.

CTF 150 forces have seized more than 18 tons of narcotics during 2009, highlighting the continual presence in the region and the commitment to creating and maintaining a lawful maritime order. In 2008, CTF 150 seized more than 53 tons of narcotics.

CTF 150 is a multinational task force that conducts maritime security operations (MSO) in and around the Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The task force was created to counter terrorism, prevent smuggling and deter other destabilizing activities to develop security in the maritime environment and create a lawful maritime order.

MSO complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seeks to disrupt violent extremist use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material. Through training opportunities with regional partners, CTF 150 enhances existing cooperative relationships which aim to support regional countries' struggles against violent extremism.