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U.S. ships, global task force bust $4 million worth of heroin in Arabian Sea

U.S. ships, global task force bust $4 million worth of heroin in Arabian Sea
U.S. service members from coastal patrol ship USS Tempest and USS Typhoon intercept a vessel carrying about $4 million worth of heroin in the Arabian Sea on Monday. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- An international maritime task force has intercepted roughly $4 million worth of heroin in the Arabian Sea, authorities said on Thursday -- adding to the nearly $200 million in seizures that have been made worldwide in 2021.

Officials said the bust netted about 850 pounds of heroin that were stashed aboard a flagless vessel and transferred to the USS Tempest and USS Typhoon.

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The drugs were destroyed at sea by the task force, called Combined Task Force 150.

The crew of the confiscated vessel identified themselves as Iranian citizens, the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet said.

"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 in a statement.

Heroin is often trafficked from poppy fields in Iran and Afghanistan to other locations in the Middle East and Europe. It often is transported via land routes in the Balkans, Southern Caucasus Mountains and Saudi Arabia.

The task force said that it has interdicted about $193 million worth of illicit drugs this year alone -- a value greater than amounts seized over the previous four years combined.

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