Dec 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. Navy seizes $4 million worth of heroin in Arabian Sea

U.S. service members from coastal patrol ship USS Tempest (PC 2) and USS Typhoon confiscate a fishing vessel with drugs.

U.S. service members from coastal patrol ships USS Tempest and USS Typhoon stop a fishing vessel carrying illegal drugs on the Arabian Sea on Dec. 27. Photo: U.S. Navy

Two U.S. Navy ships seized 385 kilograms (849 pounds) of heroin from a stateless fishing vessel in the Arabian Sea, the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The heroin, discovered by the USS Tempest and the USS Typhoon on Monday, is worth approximately $4 million, per the news release.

  • The two ships were operating as a part of an international task force that patrols different maritime areas. The group has seized more than $193 million worth of illegal drugs at sea this year — more than the previous four years combined.

Details: U.S. forces destroyed the heroin at sea. After seizing the drugs, the Navy released the nine crew members who identified themselves as Iranian.

The big picture: Opium smugglers from Iran have used sea routes to get drugs into South Asia. Iranian and Pakistani sailors are often arrested near Sri Lanka, according to AP.

  • Iran's border with Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium, has turned Iran into an important transit area for many opiates, per AP.

What they're saying: "We were able to execute this interdiction safely and with precision due to the tireless efforts of all involved,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Intoccia, the commanding officer of Tempest.

Go deeper