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Australia

$415m Drug Seizure in Middle East

An Australian warship operating in the Middle East has seized drugs believed to be worth more than $400 million after intercepting and boarding three ships in the Arabian sea.

During three days of operations after Christmas, crew members of HMAS Warramunga seized 69 kilograms of heroin and eight tonnes of hashish.

The Royal Australian Navy said it was the largest quantity of hashish seized by an Australian ship on Middle East maritime security operations, with the overall haul estimated to be valued around $415 million.

HMAS Warramunga's boarding team prepare to board a vessel of interest.Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga Dugald Clelland said the Navy “were able to employ our helicopter and boarding crews to locate and board three suspect vessels”.

“A thorough search by the boarding parties uncovered a large quantity of hashish and heroin intended for distribution around the world,” Commander Clelland said.

The illegal drugs were transferred to HMAS Warramunga and will later be disposed of at sea.

Navy seaman numbers narcotic parcels seized by HMAS Warramunga during operations in the Middle East.Commander of Australian Forces in the Middle East, Major General John Frewen, said the operation would contribute to a more secure region.

“These drug seizures support Australia’s long-term mission to ensure maritime security and stability in the region,” he said.

“This operation will impact on the flow of narcotics around the world and the use of drug money to fund extremist organisations.”

The haul was part of a joint operation with the Canadian military.

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