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U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Seizes $48M Worth of Drugs in Gulf of Oman

glen harris
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Glen Harris load up seized drugs, October 10 (USCG)

Published Oct 11, 2022 5:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, a U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutter seized an estimated $48 million worth of narcotics from a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman.

The cutter USCGC Glen Harris seized 5,000 kilograms of hashish and 800 kilograms of methamphetamine in an interdiction in international waters.

Glen Harris previously intercepted another fishing vessel on Aug. 30 while patrolling the Gulf of Oman. The earlier interdiction yielded 2,980 kilograms of hashish and 320 kilograms of amphetamine tablets worth $20 million. In May, the Glen Harris seized heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamine pills worth $28 million in two separate intercepts in the same area.

The fast response cutter arrived in the Middle East in January and operates out of the U.S. Navy base in Bahrain. She supports the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 34-nation partnership focused on maritime security, and she is assigned to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). 

CTF 150 has had other notable successes in recent weeks. On October 2, a Royal Navy frigate seized an 870-kilo shipment of methamphetamine in the waters of the Gulf of Oman. U.S. 5th Fleet estimates the value of the seizure at about $45 million, or about $50,000 per kilo. Montrose has been patrolling the Middle East for CMF since 2019, and this was her fifth drug bust of the year.

The CMF patrols about 3.2 million square miles of international waters, including some of the world’s most strategic shipping choke points. Its counternarcotics operations enforce the rule of law and clamp down on the illegal smuggling activity that terrorist groups and insurgents use to fund their operations. The boardings also occasionally result in large weapons seizures, including shipments attributed to Iranian support to the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.