On 29 March the Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto made history by intercepting approximately 1,100 pounds of heroin while conducting counterterrorism operations in the Indian Ocean. What turned out to be one of the world’s largest maritime drug seizures occurred while the Toronto was collecting intelligence off the coast of Tanzania as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), a multinational maritime-security partnership operating in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, and Gulf of Oman. Drug trafficking remains a key source of terrorist financing, and this operation was the result of international cooperation between the Royal Canadian Navy, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Seychelles Coast Guard, the Royal Australian Navy, and other CTF-150 assets. The Toronto’s boarding party discovered the 1,000-plus pounds of heroin hidden in a dhow; the illegal cargo had an estimated street value in excess of $100 million.
By Eric Wertheim