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Task force seizes 2,000kg narcotics at sea.

A MAJOR drugs haul involving around 2,000kg of hashish was seized from a suspected dhow by a Bahrain-based task force.

It was the second major drugs bust this year by French Navy Ship FS Cassard, which raided a dhow on Friday in the northern Arabian Sea and seized 100 bags of hashish.

FS Cassard is part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), which conducts counter-terrorism and maritime security operations under the Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multinational naval partnership of 33 nations. The smuggling of drugs on the high seas has long been suspected to be related to funding terrorist activities.

"A 100 bags of hashish, weighing approximately 20kg each, were discovered," said the CMF in a statement issued yesterday.

This was the second successful boarding for FS Cassard following a raid on January 31 when 667kg of heroin was seized and destroyed from a dhow suspected of carrying illicit narcotics in the northern Arabian Sea.

"Our partnership and co-ordinated efforts are successfully contributing to maritime security in the Middle East and East African region by keeping drug money out of the hands of terrorist organisations, demonstrating the value of the Combined Maritime Forces and its 33-nation coalition," said Royal Canadian Navy and CTF-150 commander Commodore Darren Garnier.

The GDN reported yesterday that British naval vessel HMS Dragon, which also operates under CTF-150, seized and destroyed heroin worth more than [pounds sterling]9 million (BD4.43m) from a suspected dhow sailing in the northern Arabian Sea on February 16.

The CMF also added that under Commodore Garnier's command a total of 13 successful illegal narcotic interceptions have been registered since December 6 in an area known as the 'hash highway'.

The notorious route runs from Afghanistan, a major drugs producer, by land to Iran or Pakistan and then across the sea to countries in east Africa and the Middle East.

CTF-150 has now seized and destroyed more than 24,000kg of illegal narcotics, worth millions of dollars, since Commodore Garnier took command of CTF-150 on December 6.

The CMF also includes CTF-151 that conducts anti-piracy operations and CTF-152 that conducts Gulf maritime security operations.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 26, 2019
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