The Royal New Zealand Navy-led counter narcotics operation has seized hash valued at nearly $2.6 million in its second major drug seizure outside the Arabian Gulf in a week.
French Marine Nationale frigate FS Languedoc, operating in support of the Combined Maritime Forces' (CMF) Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), confiscated 3,600 kilograms of hash, valued at $2.59 million from a vessel in the Indian Ocean on Monday.
It follows its intercept and search of another vessel seven days earlier, when the frigate seized more than 1,525 kilograms of hash and 166 kilograms of methamphetamine with a combined value of more than $7.4 million.
Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Brendon Clark said on Friday in a statement that the CTF-150 was observing an increase in narcotics trafficking through the CMF's area of operations following the end of the southwestern monsoon season.
“For the second time in a week, the French frigate Languedoc has demonstrated her expertise and professionalism in seizing a large volume of narcotics that would have otherwise been destined for market with the funds from the sale being used to fund terrorism and criminal activity,” he said.
“The continued commitment and contribution of a French Marine Nationale Frigate to CTF 150 ensures mission success.”
CTF 150, one of three task forces of the CMF, conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to ensure that legitimate commercial shipping can occur freely.
The New Zealand-led multinational team took over command of CTF 150 from Canada earlier this year.
The New Zealand Defence Force will command and staff the CTF 150 until early 2022.