Canadian-Led Forces Seizes Nearly 2,000 kg of Narcotics in Arabian Sea

MANAMA, Bahrain – On April 10, the Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 executed two successful drug interdictions in the Arabian Sea as part of Focused Operation Crimson Barracuda, seizing a combined total of nearly 2,000 kg of narcotics.

During the first interdiction, the Royal Navy’s HMS Lancaster, a Duke-class Type 23 frigate, seized over 800 kg of hashish, 390 kg of methamphetamines, and 110 kg of heroin from a stateless dhow. This significant bust occurred on the crew’s first day of deployment following a recent crew swap.

“I am exceptionally proud of the entire team in Lancaster for executing this interdiction on the first day of our deployment,” said Royal Navy Cmdr. Chris Sharp, HMS Lancaster’s commanding officer. “Complex interdictions in such a challenging environment require true teamwork across the entire ship’s company. This success is shared with our partners in CTF 150 who provided essential support to the operation.”

Later that day, leveraging Canadian space-based intelligence, the Sentinel-class fast-response cutter USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) intercepted another dhow in the Arabian Sea, seizing 257 kg of methamphetamines, 92 kg of heroin, 17 kg of amphetamines, 296 kg of hashish, and 15 kg of marijuana. The crew subsequently weighed, documented, and disposed of the narcotics.

The USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. is forward deployed to Bahrain as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), which integrates U.S. Coast Guard personnel and ships with U.S. and regional naval forces throughout the Middle East.

“These two interdictions have made a significant dent in criminal and terrorist organizations’ ability to use drugs to fund their activities,” said Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Colin Matthews, Commander of Combined Task Force 150. “The collaboration of our assets and personnel allowed us to become a precise and highly effective team that not only undermined the efforts of these organizations but also prevented nearly 2,000 kg of drugs from hitting the streets.”

Operation Crimson Barracuda aims to counter terrorist and criminal organizations’ use of the high seas to smuggle narcotics, weapons, and other illicit substances in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Gulf of Oman.

CTF 150 is one of five task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the world’s largest international naval partnership. CTF 150’s mission is to deter and disrupt non-state actors’ movements of weapons, drugs, and other illicit substances in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Gulf of Oman.

Combined Maritime Forces is a 42-nation naval partnership committed to upholding the international rules-based order by promoting security and stability across 3.2 million square miles of water, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.–News Desk