HMAS Warramunga seizes another $124 million of heroin, total seizures top $1 billion

Royal Australian Navy sailors Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Adam Cook (left) and Able Seaman Electronics Technician Dylan Canderle count parcels of seized narcotics in the Middle East.

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS  Warramunga’s crew  has seized  another  414  kilograms  of heroin  valued in excess of $124  million  during an operation in the Western Indian Ocean.

Warramunga  has  now  seized and destroyed narcotics from seven vessels since deploying to the Middle East in November, totalling 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of $1  billion.*

The ship’s  Seahawk helicopter crew detected the smuggling vessel while conducting surveillance late on  1  February  2018,  in an operation planned by the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150(CTF 150).  The subsequent boarding by  Warramunga’s  crew  located  the narcotics.

The  Commanding Officer of HMAS  Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, RAN, said the ship’s seventh seizure  had achieved a significant milestone for Australian maritime operations.

“As a result of this latest seizure,  Warramunga  has now taken more than $1 billion of narcotics out of circulation, meaning the funds raised from this sale  are  no longer available for use by terrorist organisations around the world,” he said.

The  Commander of  CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, RAN,  said  the ship’s  ongoing success was  the result of close cooperation between the  ship’s  crew and  the Australian-Canadian planning team  at CTF 150.

“The team on land and  at sea  has  worked well to identify and search vessels of interest in a large geographic area, dealing a series of significant blows to the drug trade that funds violent extremists,” he said.

The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga  and  disposed  at sea.

This is Warramunga’s third deployment to the Middle East region, and is the 66th rotation of a RAN vessel in the region since 1990.

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

Combined Taskforce 150 is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces. Australia assumed command the Combined Task Force 150 in December 2017.

Summary of vessels interdicted with drugs by  Warramunga  in the 66th rotation:
”¢  27””29 December 2017: hashish,  8 tonnes;  heroin,  69 kg  (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

*Note: This calculation is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission  IllicitDrug  Data Report 2015”“16  figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) @  AUD$50 per gram (p215) and Heroin @  AUD$300,000 per kilo (p216).

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