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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

Updated Jan 9, 2022 - World

Iran sanctions more than 50 Americans for 2020 Soleimani killing

A crowd gathers on Jan. 8 during commemorations marking the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian Cmdr. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Cmdr. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Photo: Hussein Faleh/AFP via Getty Images

Iran on Saturday sanctioned more than 50 U.S. officials over the 2020 assassination of Qasem Soleimani, one of the regime's most powerful military figures.

The big picture: The additional sanctions announced by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday come after the second anniversary of the Jan. 3, 2020, drone strike that killed Soleimani, the commander of Iran's regional network of proxies and international intelligence and terror operations.

Navy basic training expands and will include focus on combatting extremism and sexual assault

Members of the U.S. Naval Academy freshman class lift logs during the annual Sea Trials training exercise in 2014 at the school in Annapolis, Md. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Navy announced Friday that it has added a two-week boot camp to its eight weeks of basic training to provide recruits with leadership and life skills that reinforce "character development with a warfighting spirit."

Driving the news: The boot camp also addresses suicide prevention and combat issues such as sexual assault, hazing and extremism, which have risen in recent years, the Associated Press reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.

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