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U.S. Navy Destroyer Seizes $42M Worth of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine seizure from dhow
Courtesy U.S. 5th Fleet

Published Apr 25, 2023 12:09 AM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, a U.S. Navy destroyer successfully intercepted a smuggling dhow and seized $42 million worth of illegal drugs in the Gulf of Oman, the latest in a long series of intercepts organized by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in Bahrain. 

While operating in support of CMF Combined Task Force 150, USS Paul Hamilton spotted a suspicious fishing vessel and moved to intercept. U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard crewmembers aboard the Hamilton got ready to board, but as they were approaching, the five smugglers on the dhow began to throw 35-pound bags of methamphetamine over the side. 

Some of the bags were recovered from the water, and the drugs were confiscated. In all, the boarding team seized 1,000 kilos of hashish and 800 kilos of methamphetamine from the dhow. 

The smugglers identified themselves as Iranian nationals, according to U.S. 5th Fleet. 

“I am incredibly pleased with the performance of our sailors,” said Cmdr. Jake Ferrari, the commanding officer of USS Paul Hamilton. “We remain committed to delivering consistent maritime security and countering illicit activities and contraband smuggling in the region.”

The multinational partnership behind CTF 150 has been particularly active in counter-narcotics operations in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean over the past two years, seizing $1 billion worth of drugs in 2021-22. So far this year, its member navies have captured about $150 million, including a substantial bust two days before Paul Hamilton's interdiction. On April 19, an unnnamed CTF 150 naval vessel seized more than 500 kilos of heroin from a smuggling boat in the Indian Ocean. The haul was worth $23 million.