French frigate seized methamphetamine worth more than $17 million, during Combined Maritime Forces counter-narcotics operation in the Arabian Sea

French frigate FS Guépratte has seized 1,380 lbs (626 kg) of methamphetamine worth more than $17 million, during the latest Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-narcotics operation in the Arabian Sea

Members of FS Guépratte’s ship’s company on the flight deck of the ship, with almost 1,400 lbs of illicit narcotics seized from a vessel in the Arabian Sea, 9 April, 2021 (Photo: Marine Nationale).

After spotting a suspicious vessel whilst on patrol in the Arabian Sea and investigating with the ship’s boarding team, the subsequent search operation uncovered the illicit cargo, which also contained 165 lbs (75 kg) of heroin worth a further $787,500. 

“This drug seizure contributes to the high level of achievements performed by French naval forces in the area. It represents another great success against the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs at sea and crowns the efficient and relentless training undertaken by my crew since September,” said Guépratte’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Guilhem Desvignes. “I particularly want to highlight the outstanding cooperation we had with Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 which was key to this significant success.”

Operating in direct support of CTF-150, the record haul comes less than a month after Marine Nationale ships achieved five separate drug busts in a six-day period. Since assuming command of the CTF in January, the Canadian-led outfit has now seized almost 20 tons (18 tonnes) of narcotics in 11 separate interdictions by ships from France, the UK, and the United States.

“The successful seizure of methamphetamine on this scale shows how critical our maritime security operations are to tackling global issues. The actions of FS Guépratte and CTF-150 have removed this dangerous substance from circulation and a significant sum from the pockets of its peddlers,” said Deputy Commander of CMF, Commodore Ed Ahlgren of the Royal Navy. “It’s important we consider the downstream effects; these illicit actors will now be hampered in their other activities, including terrorism, while communities can rest easy knowing this harmful product will not be on their streets.” 

Boarding teams from FS Guépratte undertake a search operation onboard a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea, during which almost 1,400 lbs of methamphetamine and heroin was seized (Photo: Marine Nationale).

Commander of CTF-150, Commodore Daniel Charlebois of the Royal Canadian Navy, added, “It is only through strong relationships with trusted partners and allies that CTF-150 has enjoyed impactful and tangible results at sea, such as the most recent interdiction made by FS Guépratte. I send my personal thanks to the Marine Nationale for their continued excellence as we continue to work together in denying criminal and terrorist organizations unrestricted access to the maritime domain.”