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USCG, U.S. Navy Intercept $100M Worth of Drugs in Gulf of Oman

heroin bust
Boarding team from USCGC Charles Moulthrope confiscates several tonnes of heroin from a fishing vessel, Sept. 27 (USCG)

Published Oct 2, 2022 3:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last week, U.S. forces operating as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) seized nearly $100 million worth of drugs from smugglers in the Gulf of Oman, where narcotics trafficking is often used to finance terrorism and insurgencies. 

On September 27, the U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutter USCGC Charles Moulthrope seized 2.4 tonnes of heroin from a fishing vessel in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman. The bust is the largest drug seizure by international forces in the Middle East yet this year. 

"This sizable seizure demonstrates a profound commitment among our international partners to disrupting and deterring destabilizing activity in the region," said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and CMF.

USCGC Charles Moulthrope has been operating in the Middle East since May 2021, and her crew of about 30 coastguardsmen still includes the ship’s 24 plankowners.

On September 28, the crew of the destroyer USS Delbert D. Black intercepted another fishing vessel in international waters of the Gulf of Oman. The Black's boarding team recovered and confiscated 7.2 tonnes of hashish worth an estimated $10 million. 

CTF 150 is one of four task forces under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the world’s largest multinational naval partnership. CMF consists of 34 nations whose forces operate in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean. The Royal Saudi Navy assumed command of CTF 150 in July. 

Over the course of the year, CMF's assets have conducted 13 successful drug interdictions. Its vessels have captured heroin, methamphetamine, amphetamine pills and hashish worth about $300 million combined.