The United States Justice Department announced that federal agents have seized millions of dollars worth of fuel that Iranians were sending to Venezuela in an attempt to avoid U.S. economic sanctions. The seizure was characterized as the largest ever of its kind. 

The petroleum was loaded in four tankers. They were stopped and their cargo handed over to the U.S. authorities near the Strait of Hormuz.

In a statement, the U.S. said that 1.116 million barrels of fuel were confiscated from the foreign-flagged vessels M/T Bella, M/T Bering, M/T Pandi, and M/T Luna. The statement added that the operation was conducted “with the assistance of foreign partners.”

The U.S. Justice Department said that the Iranian military responded after the seizure: “Iran’s navy forcibly boarded an unrelated ship in an apparent attempt to recover the seized petroleum but was unsuccessful.” The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released a video of Iranian Special Operations troops fast-roping from a Sea King helicopter onto a ship identified as the “Wila.”

“We are seeing more and more global shipping fleets avoiding the Iran-Venezuela trade due to our sanctions implementation and enforcement efforts,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. “The United States remains committed to our maximum pressure campaigns against the Iranian and Maduro regimes.”