On 11 April 2018, Marine Nationale frigate La Fayette seized 413 kgs of heroin during a patrol in support of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). 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, the 2 French ships have confiscated over $370 million USD of drugs over the last two months.
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, the vessel was confirmed as such and a non-destructive search consequently took place, locating 413 kgs of heroin, with a street value of over $96 million USD. On completion of the thorough search, the illegal drugs were catalogued and transferred to La Fayette to be destroyed safely at sea.
Acting Commander of CTF 150, Captain Christopher Ross, Royal Canadian Navy, said the continued success of CTF 150 is due to the cooperation between partner navies within CMF and stated “CMF is a multinational coalition committed to maintaining maritime security in this important region. 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 tonnes of hashish and 2.5 tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of $1.6 billion *USD. CTF 150 is currently under Australian leadership, with a combined Australian and Canadian staff and supported by assets from the 32 partner nations of CMF.
Media note: *This calculation is based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) at $39 USD per gram (p215) and Heroin at $235,000 USD per kilogram (p 216).