In a dramatic turn of events, the United States has apprehended four individuals suspected of attempting to smuggle Iranian-manufactured weapons to Yemen. Their vessel was intercepted in the Arabian Sea on January 11, and they faced their first court appearance in Richmond, VA, this Thursday, February 22nd. The suspects, named Muhammad Pahlawan, Mohammad Mazhar, Ghufran Ullah, and Izhar Muhammad, were captured during a U.S. Navy operation that tragically resulted in the loss of two SEALs.

Tragic SEAL Operation

The mission to seize the vessel believed to be heading to Yemen involved SEALs from the USS Lewis Puller and a U.S. Coast Guard team. They discovered advanced weaponry presumed to be intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen. The operation took a somber turn with the deaths of two Navy SEALs who drowned while trying to board the smuggler’s ship under challenging conditions.

Authorities from the United States have disclosed that on January 11, Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers was in the process of boarding the boat when he accidentally fell into the water due to the significant wave-induced separation between the vessel and the SEALs’ combat craft. Upon witnessing Chambers’ fall, Naval Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram took immediate action, diving in an attempt to rescue him, per the accounts provided by U.S. officials acquainted with the incident.

The Arms Cache

The seized arsenal included key components for ballistic and cruise missiles, highlighting the strategic implications of the smuggling route from Iran to Yemen. The operation signifies a critical interception of Iranian weapons amid escalating maritime threats in the region.


Some of the weapons and weapon components seized from the dhow.


This Iranian-made warhead was also taken from the small vessel. It was bound for Houthis in Yemen.

Crew’s Denial and Investigation Insights

Despite the crew’s denial of arms smuggling, some admitted to drug trafficking. The investigation pointed to Pahlawan as the operation’s leader, with connections to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, underscoring the operation’s complexity and international ramifications.