Royal Navy HMS Monmouth a Type 23 frigate, in the Middle East on operations with HMS Trenchant and a Lynx helicopter 815 Naval Air Squadron, by Ben Shread (Crown, 2012)

Royal Navy in Terrorist Drugs Bust

Combined Task Force 150 Seizes 250 kg of Heroin

A French-British task force dealt a £75m blow to terrorists after scoring the second major drugs bust in a month, according to the Royal Navy, Monday, May 15.

Australian frigate HMAS Arunta pounced on a dhow tracked by units assigned to Combined Task Force 150, where sailors recovered 250kg of heroin.

It comes hot on the heels of a double seizure of heroin by the French frigate Surcouf which brought in 400kg of heroin, worth around £120m on the streets.

That success came just a few days after British and French sailors and marines took charge of the international task group, whose task is to stop smuggling in the Indian Ocean; drugs are known to be a major source of funding for terrorist groups in the region.

The two-dozen staff of French Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas are drawn from the French and British navies – a forerunner of the new combined naval task force the two nations are forming.

Based in Bahrain, they direct the daily movements of half a dozen warships – including UK frigate HMS Monmouth at present – plus long-range maritime patrol aircraft.

Collectively, they scour over two million square miles of ocean looking for suspicious craft.

“Units operating under the command of Combined Task Force 150 continue to remove significant quantities of narcotics from international markets, and so prevent criminal and terrorist organizations benefiting from the trade,” said Admiral Lebas.

He and his team direct the struggle against international terrorism for four months, having taken over from the Royal Canadian Navy in mid-April.

CTF 150 was established near the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom and is comprised of warships from numerous Coalition nations. Contributors have included the UK, France, Canada, Germany, Pakistan, Australia, Denmark and the United States. The UK are currently leading the command team which includes Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Royal Air Force personnel, as well as allies from the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and the United States Navy.

CTF 150 has been very successful in interdicting illicit cargoes; three hash seizures for a total 5,610 kilos, five heroin seizures for a total of 1,494 kilos and three amphetamine seizures of 24 kilos.”

Vice Admiral John Miller, US Naval Forces Central Command, Commander US Fifth Fleet

Sources: French-British task force deals another blow to terrorists with major drugs bust; CTF-150.

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