The USS Laboon intercepted a small vessel in international waters that was carrying nearly six hundred pounds of heroin while conducting maritime security operations as a part of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 of the Combined Maritime Forces in the Arabian Sea.

The small vessel was considered “stateless” in that it carried no national registration or flag to indicate its country of origin, prompting the Laboon to conduct a standard inspection of the vessel.  It was during said inspection that the heroin was discovered below the deck of the ship.

“Keeping these drugs off the street helps everyone, and keeps money from those who use the profits for harm,” said Commander Jason Labott, the Laboon’s commanding officer.

Intercepting the vessel was an international effort, led by the USS Laboon but aided in large part by Royal Navy vessels from the U.K. under the command of the Royal Canadian Navy.

“The execution of this operation demonstrates the abilities of multinational forces to coordinate across great distances for the common good of the international community,” Labott said. “The hard work and professionalism of our boarding team, Laboon’s crew, air crews from RFA Fort Victoria, and the shore side support of CTF-150 and Destroyer Squadron 50 deserve great credit.”

RFA Fort Victoria tracked the vessel by launching a helicopter, which then coordinated the Laboon’s efforts to intercept it.  This marks the second such drug seizure conducted by the international task force in just the past two weeks, once again demonstrating CTF 150’s ability to coordinate multiple aircraft and vessels from various national fleets in order to achieve objectives.

“The impressive work of Combined Task Force 150, under the leadership of Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Haydn Edmundson, continued last night with the second successful seizure of illegal drugs in less than two weeks,” said Vice. Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

“The March 2 seizure by HMAS Arunta and last night’s seizure by USS Laboon has resulted in preventing more than a thousand kilograms of combined hashish and heroin from reaching their destination and will prevent transnational terrorists from profiting off these nefarious activities.”