The U.S. Coast Guard made a major drug bust on Saturday, seizing more than 1,500 kilograms of narcotics from a fishing boat moving through the Arabian Sea. The USCG John Scheuerman was on a routine patrol in the sea when it encountered the vessel.

The fishing ship, sailing with a crew of four, was carrying 1,350 kilograms of hashish, 276 kilograms of methamphetamine and 23 kilograms of amphetamine pills, which the Coast Guard said had a street value of $20 million. It’s unclear how they came to that estimation. A photo shared by the Coast Guard shows service members conducting an inventory of the cargo next to a large pile of bags filled with drugs plus taped bundles of narcotics. 

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“This is the result of excellent teamwork and multinational collaboration. It is important that we continue relentlessly pursuing any destabilizing maritime activity,” U.S. Navy Capt. Anthony Webber, the commander of Task Force 55, which oversees the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet surface ships in the region, said in a statement on the drug bust. “The crew clearly demonstrated John Scheuerman’s motto of ‘selflessness and strength’ during this seizure and I couldn’t be more proud.”

It’s the latest bust made by the USCG John Scheuerman. In November the Sentinel-class cutter, along with the Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, seized more than 170 tons of chemical compounds that could be used as rocket fuel or explosive material. The ship’s record is impressive in part because it was only commissioned in late February 2022.

The Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf are major maritime routes, and smugglers use them in operations. The United States and allied partners have been patrolling for smuggling, mainly with a focus on weapons and explosive material, but also working to intercept drug runners. Many of the arms moved through the sea have been heading toward conflict zones such as Yemen or Ukraine. Outside of the operations that involved the USCG John Scheuerman, the U.S. Navy has been busy intercepting ships carrying illicit cargo. Last month Navy ships confiscated more than 2,000 Kalashnikov rifles sailing from Iran to Yemen, likely bound for Houthi rebels. In December, another fishing vessel was intercepted and its contents of ammunition, fuel and rocket propellant seized.

Both the Coast Guard and the Navy operate in the region under the Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition of 38 nations that coordinates four task forces of vessels conducting patrols in the seas.

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