Marine Nationale Ship La Fayette Seizes More than $60M of Heroin in Red Sea

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

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS -- Marine Nationale Frigate La Fayette, currently supporting Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), interdicted a suspicious dhow and seized 573 pounds of heroin, May 11. 


In an operation coordinated by CTF 150 headquarters, Marine Nationale Frigate La Fayette was conducting maritime security operations and working closely with a French navy falcon patrol aircraft.  Together they located a suspicious vessel that La Fayette interdicted with assistance from her own panther helicopter. The ship’s commanding officer determined that further action was required and quickly requested permission from Commander, CTF 150 to activate a boarding team. A thorough search, that lasted nearly 24 hours in rough sea conditions, resulted in the seizure of heroin worth an estimated $61 million.


La Fayette’s success builds upon past success with frigate Marine Nationale Jean de Vienne, where together they have confiscated over 6 tons of hashish and 1.2 tons of heroin over the last two months, valued in excess of $1.9 billion.


Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, recognized the continued success in removing illicit narcotics from the smuggling circuit is a testament to the hard work of naval units committed to CTF150 efforts ensuring the oceans are safe and used for legitimate purposes.


“The hard work, professionalism and dedication of the officers and sailors on La Fayette is outstanding and a shining example of the French navy’s commitment to ensure illicit narcotics do not make it to their intended destinations and are not used to fund terrorism,” said Wise.


Now nearing the end of the Australian command, CTF 150 continues to work hard in the region to counter narcotics smuggling and in turn counter terrorism which the narcotics trade funds. The current staff is supported by partners from France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Established in 2002, CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organizations and their activities by denying them the freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain. In collaboration with international and regional maritime security partners, the CTF 150 teams have seized and destroyed billions of dollars in drugs and captured thousands of weapons, ensuring they are no longer available to organizations which would cause others harm.