(RoyalPatriot.com )- In a major drug bust by the international maritime operation, on Monday, the US Navy seized 849 pounds of heroin from a fishing vessel in the Arabian Sea.
Coast Guard members embarked on the coast patrol ships the USS Tempest and USS Typhoon found the drugs hidden in the vessel during a flag verification boarding. The $4 million in heroin was then destroyed at sea.
According to Commander Timothy Hawkins, the spokesman for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet which operates in the Middle East, the vessel and its nine crew members who claimed to be Iranian nationals were then released after the drugs were seized.
The Navy ships are part of Combined Task Force 150 which in 2021 seized over $193 million in drugs during at-sea operations, a value higher than the total drug seizures from the last four years combined.
Cmdr. Hawkins did not specify who manufactured the heroin, nor did his statement indicate where the Iranian crew was transporting it.
According to the United Nations’ Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment, heroin from Iran and Afghanistan is trafficked to the Middle East and Europe often through well-traveled land routes in the Balkans, the Southern Caucasus mountains, or Saudi Arabia. To transport heroin into South Asia, smugglers from Iran have increasingly taken to sea, with Iranian and Pakistani sailors often arrested near Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium and with the Taliban back in control, that business is booming. Iran’s porous 1,195-mile eastern border with Afghanistan has turned Iran into a key transit country in Afghanistan’s illicit drug trade.