Australian Navy Nabs $132 Million Heroin Haul Off Coast Of Somalia

HMAS Darwin HMAS Darwin stands by as boarding parties approach the dhow carrying 449kg of heroin. Photo: LSA Stephen McGreal/Defence

The Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Darwin has captured a drug smuggling boat carrying nearly half a tonne of heroin off the coast of Somalia, the Department of Defence has revealed.

The dhow (a type of boat) was 40 nautical miles east of Somalia when it was intercepted on May 13 with 449kg of heroin, with an estimated street value of $132 million, on board.

HMAS Darwin has been on patrol in the region since February as part of a combined international counter-terrorism and piracy force in the Middle East and Indian Ocean.

A boarding party from the Darwin discovered the drugs hidden in 20 bags weighing 20-25kg each.

Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison, said the seizure removed a major source of funding for terrorist and criminal networks which included Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Al-Shabaab.

“Due to the hard work of many previous ships deploying to this region, we have been very successful in intercepting illegal narcotics smuggling,” Commander Morrison said.

It’s the seventh significant seizure this year for the combined maritime forces, with the HMAS Darwin responsible for seizing more than 1 tonne of heroin with an estimated street value of $289 million.

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