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La Fayette Seizes more than 900 Pounds of Heroin

By Commander, Combined Maritime Forces Office of Public Affairs | April 17, 2018

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS --

Marine Nationale frigate La Fayette (F710) seized 911 pounds of heroin during a patrol in support of the U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), April 11.

La Fayette’s seizure is the third for the French navy in support of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). Together with Marine Nationale destroyer Jean de Vienne (D643), the two French ships have confiscated drugs valued at more than $370 million over the last two months while operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

La Fayette’s Panther helicopter was conducting routine surveillance in the international waters of the Arabian Sea as part of a CMF patrol. Detecting a dhow of interest, the Marine Nationale frigate closed in on the dhow to investigate further. Following a boarding to determine whether the vessel was without nationality, a non-destructive search uncovered 911 pounds of heroin, with a street value of over $96 million.

On completion of the thorough search, the illegal drugs were catalogued and transferred to La Fayette to be destroyed safely at sea.

Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Christopher Ross, acting commander of CTF 150, explained that the task force’s continued success is due to the cooperation between partner navies within CMF.

“CMF is a multinational coalition committed to maintaining maritime security in this important region,” said Ross. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with a professional force like the French Navy. Their continued success and significant contributions to the CMF mission are a testament to France’s commitment and the hard work of the men and women at sea. We look forward to achieving more together.”

Since December 2017, multinational assets in support of CTF 150 have seized over 28 tons of hashish and 2.5 tons of heroin, valued in excess of $1.6 billion. CTF 150 is currently under Australian leadership, with a combined Australian and Canadian staff supported by assets from the 32 partner nations of CMF.

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.