A late-night operation by HMAS Warramunga on Thursday yielded a $124 million heroin haul, bringing the total value of drugs intercepted by the vessel since it was deployed to the Middle East region to the billion-dollar mark.
The Royal Australian Navy crew seized 414 kilograms of heroin during the operation in the Western Indian Ocean, after the ship's Seahawk helicopter detected the smuggling vessel during a surveillance operation. The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga and then disposed at sea.
HMAS Warramunga's latest drug bust brings the total value seized by the vessel since its November deployment to more than $1 billion.
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Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Dugald Clelland, said it was a significant milestone for Australian maritime operations.
“As a result of this latest seizure, Warramunga has now taken more than $1 billion of narcotics out of circulation, meaning the funds raised from this sale are no longer available for use by terrorist organisations around the world,” he said.
It's the seventh vessel to be intercepted with drugs by Warramunga during the ship's current deployment, and follows the monster haul of 915kg of heroin last month.
Drugs now seized and disposed of by the ship total 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin.
This is Warramunga’s third deployment to the Middle East region. It's there as part of Operation MANITOU, the name for the Australian Government's current "contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region," according to the Defence statement.