US Navy officials said US Navy ships seized 385 kilograms of heroin in the Arabian Sea Thursday, valued at nearly $4 million, in an attack carried out by the International Maritime Operation in the area, according to the Associated Press.
The International Task Force said in a statement that the destroyers USS Tempest and USS Typhoon seized drugs hidden on board a stateless fishing vessel sailing in the waters of the Middle East, and the seizure took place last Monday.
Commander Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Middle East, said the fishing vessel likely came from Iran, where the nine crew members identified themselves as Iranian nationals, and did not say who made the drugs or their final destination.
As the task force ramps up regional patrols, more than $193 million worth of illegal drugs have been seized during operations at sea this year — more than the amount of narcotics seized in the past four years combined, the statement said.
Heroin is smuggled to the Middle East and even Europe by land from Iran and Afghanistan, according to the United Nations’ Global Assessment of Synthetic Medicines last year. .
According to the agency, Iran’s 1,923-kilometer eastern border with Afghanistan, the world’s largest opium producer, has turned Iran into a major transit country for the illegal drug trade.