The U.S. Navy seized $4 million of heroin from a fishing vessel in the Arabian Sea, officials announced Thursday, the Associated Press reported.
The USS Tempest and USS Typhoon busted the stateless fishing vessel while it was sailing Mideast waters Monday as part of an international task force, the AP reported. The drugs were destroyed at sea by the task force, UPI reported.
The Navy said the ship came from Iran, identifying nine crew members as Iranian nationals, according to Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesperson for the U.S. Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet, the AP reported.
The task force confiscated over $193 million of drugs in 2021, more than the amount seized over the previous four years combined, the AP reported.
“This latest seizure is a demonstration that CTF 150 and assigned surface and air assets are ready to conduct interdiction operations 365 days a year,” task force commander and Royal New Zealand Navy Capt. Brendon Clark said, UPI reported.
Heroin is often trafficked throughout the Middle East, and occasionally Europe, from Iran and Afghanistan, according to last year’s U.N. Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment. Those trafficking the drug have taken to the sea to transport shipments to South Asia, the AP reported.
The Navy seized over 1,400 AK-47 rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from an Iranian ship on Dec. 20, the State Department said. The stateless ship carrying the weapons intended to deliver them to Yemen, but U.S. forces said they sank the vessel after the seizure, having determined it to be a “hazard” to the commercial shipping in the area.