French frigate seizes $61M of heroin in Red Sea

The French Navy frigate La Fayette seized 260 kg of heroin when interdicting a “suspicious dhow” in the Red Sea on May 11.

Photo: CFM

It is her third seizure of narcotics in less than a month, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) said.

In an operation coordinated by Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), 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 USD.

Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, recognised that 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.

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.