Wednesday, October 21, 2009

USS Anzio Seizes Four Tons of Narcotics

Story Number: NNS091021-01

Release Date: 10/21/2009 5:14:00 AM
By Lt. Iain Jones, Royal Navy, CTF 151 Public Affairs

USS ANZIO, Gulf of Aden (NNS) -- USS Anzio (CG 68), operating as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, a U.S.-led coalition supporting maritime security operations in the region, seized approximately four tons of hashish found aboard a skiff Oct. 15 in the Gulf of Aden, with an estimated street-value of $28 million.The skiff was located approximately 170 miles southwest of Salalah, Oman when it was spotted traveling at a high speed by Anzio's crew. Following a brief chase, the skiff was boarded by Anzio's visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team, including officers from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. The drugs seized by naval forces could have helped to fund the insurgency fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan as well as contribute to instability in the region. "The seizure of these drugs takes money out of the hands of those financing terrorists in the region," said Rear Adm. Scott E. Sanders, commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, embarked aboard Anzio. "Yesterday these Sailors were hunting pirates, today they have sent a message to all would-be smugglers that we won't tolerate pirates or drug traffickers in these waters." Coalition Sailors discovered the drugs in the dhow along the 'Hash Highway.' The drugs were thrown overboard and destroyed. This is the first seizure of narcotics that Anzio has conducted."At first we had no idea what the skiff was doing out here in these waters, we were wary that they could have been pirates," said Capt. Frank J Olmo. "My VBSS teams are trained to handle these situations safely and efficiently." Naval Forces assigned to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have seized more than 22 tons of narcotics during 2009, highlighting the continual presence in the region and the commitment to creating and maintaining a lawful maritime order. In 2008, CMF forces seized more than 53 tons of narcotics. Anzio is the flagship for CTF 151, and has been operating in the region for five months. CTF 151 is a multinational task force established in January 2009 by the CMF headquartered in Manama, Bahrain. They conduct counter piracy operations under a mission-based mandate to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security, and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations.

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