A major heroin bust by the international maritime operation in the Arabian Sea saw the United States navy seize 385 kilograms of heroin (nearly 849 pounds) worth nearly $4 million.
Stateless fishing vessels plying Mideast waters were intercepted by USS Tempest and USS Typhoon, according to an official statement from the international task force. On Monday, the vessels were seized.
It is likely that the fishing vessel came from Iran, according to the Navy. Identified as Iranians, all nine crew members are Iranians, according to Commander. Timothy Hawkins, spokesperson for the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Middle East.
The manufacturer of the drugs and their ultimate destination was not disclosed by him.
Over $193 million in drugs have been seized this year during operations at sea by the task force as it ramps up regional patrols – more than it had seized in the previous four years combined.
A United Nations report reported that heroin is often transported from Iran and Afghanistan by train and shipped through well-established routes in the Balkans, Southern Caucasus Mountains, and Saudi Arabia to the Middle East and Europe, according to the Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment. A report says Iranian and Pakistani sailors are often arrested near Sri Lanka by drug smugglers who take to the sea to transport heroin into South Asia.
A 1,923-kilometer (1195-mile-long) porous border between Iran and Afghanistan, which produces the most opium in the world, has made it an important transit country for illegal drugs.