Navy frigate seizes over $300m of narcotics

Two hauls of illegal narcotics valued at $315.4 million* have been seized by HMAS Warramunga, following boarding operations in international waters of the Arabian Sea this week.

Anzac frigate Warramunga is currently deployed to the Middle East under Operation Manitou and over the course of two days while assigned to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the ship detected two separate suspect vessels via their MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopter.

The ship’s boarding party was deployed and uncovered approximately 6.2 tonnes of hashish on the two vessels while conducting searches.

Commander CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, RAN, said the seizures reinforced the CTF’s ability to target and disrupt activities that generate funding for terrorist and criminal organisations.

"The interdiction and disposal of these illicit narcotics directly impacts these organisations and shows that CTF 150 and the CMF remain focused on countering terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional co-operation and promoting a safe maritime environment," CDRE Wise said.

These are the 12th and 13th vessels trafficking narcotics that Warramunga has intercepted since starting operations in the Middle East in November 2017.

This takes Warramunga’s total seizures to approximately 26 tonnes of hashish and approximately two tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of $1.8 billion.*

The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga and disposed at sea.

Operation MANITOU is the Australian government's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

CTF 150 is one of three task forces operating under CMF. The combined Australian-Canadian CTF 150 command team handed over to a combined UK, New Zealand, and French team yesterday.

Summary of drug seizures by Warramunga:
• 27—29 December 2017: approx. 8 tonnes hashish, 69kg heroin, (three vessels interdicted over this period)
• 3 January 2018: hashish, 3.5 tonnes
• 7 January 2018: heroin, 111kg
• 24 January 2018: heroin, 915kg
• 1 February 2018: heroin, 414kg
• 3 March 2018: hashish, 4.1 tonnes
• 4 March 2018 – hashish, 3.9 tonnes
• 6 March 2018 – heroin, 132kg
• 10 May 2018 – heroin, 295kg
• 21 May 2018 – hashish, 3 tonnes
• 22 May 2018: hashish, 3.2 tonnes

*Note: This calculation is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015-16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) @ $50,000 per kilogram (p215) and Heroin @ $300,000 per kilogram (p216).

Navy frigate seizes over $300m of narcotics
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