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Naval coalition seizing narcotics at unprecedented rate in the Middle East

June 15, 2017 (Photo Credit: MC2 Kayla Cosby/Navy)
The Combined Task Force 150 has conducted a "record" number of drug busts in the Arabian Sea over the past several months, confiscating 3,300 kilograms of narcotics over the course of 10 raids, according to a recent  Navy release

The string of busts began in early March when the Royal Australian Navy frigate Arunta impounded about 800 kilograms of hashish, a cannabis extract. About two weeks later, the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer Laboon found 270 kilograms of heroin in one raid and 500 kilograms of hashish during another, the release said.

The most recent bust began on June 7 when the Arunta found 260 kilograms of heroin. Searching a ship for drugs can take days, the Combined Maritime Forces said in a release. One of the most intricate seizures involved finding 720 kilograms of heroin that was hidden beneath 6,000 pounds of rice, the CMF said. 

Confiscated drugs have ranged from heroin and cocaine to cannabis and hashish, said the Navy release. The Navy's guided-missile destroyer Truxtun and guided-missile cruiser Hue City have also conducted drug raids for the task force during the span. Ships from the French Navy, the Royal Danish Air force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the U.K. Royal Navy have contributed to the effort as well, according to the release.

"Ultimately 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," said Vice. Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Combined Maritime Forces, in the Navy's statement.

The CTF 150 is one of the CMF’s three task forces mandated to protect the Middle Eastern seas from terrorism and other illegal activities, according to the  CMF website
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