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US Navy Seizes Drugs in Gulf - 2003-12-19

U.S. naval forces in the Arabian Gulf have seized nearly two metric tons of drugs on a boat known as dhow sailing what the military says is a known al-Qaida smuggling route.

The military says a boarding team from a U.S. guided-missile destroyer intercepted the small dhow near the Straits of Hormuz on Monday. In a search, the team found over 50 bags of hashish, weighing nearly two metric tons with a street value of eight to 10 million U.S. dollars.

A military statement says the dhow was operating on a smuggling route known to be used by the al-Qaida terrorist group. It says three of the dhow's 12 crew members are believed to have links to al-Qaida but there is no elaboration on what those links are.

A senior Navy commander says the capture of the vessel underscores the need for continuing maritime patrols of the Gulf to stop the movement of terrorists, drugs and weapons.