Home Middle East Australian frigate seizes 3 tons of heroin, hashish in Middle East

Australian frigate seizes 3 tons of heroin, hashish in Middle East

Seized drugs onboard HMAS Toowoomba
Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba has intercepted over 3,000 kilograms of illegal narcotics including hashish and heroin in the Gulf of Aden.

The Australian defense ministry said the seizure took place on March 19, and was carried out by Toowoomba as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, a multinational taskforce of 33 nations committed to disrupting terrorist organisations and illegal activities in the maritime domain.

The Anzac class frigate is deployed under operation Manitou, Australia’s contribution to support international efforts to promote security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

This is the first drug interdiction by the frigate since it arrived in the Middle East over a month ago.

“The interdiction of these narcotics helps deny the financial pathway that terrorist organisations use to fund their criminal activities in the Middle East region,” Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds said.

Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Susan Coyle, CSC, DSM commended the personnel on-board Toowoomba.

“The smugglers’ ingenuity in hiding the sizeable amount of drugs was overcome by hard work and lateral thinking from these well-trained teams,” Major General Coyle said.

“Sailors used specialised search techniques and equipment to discover the drugs which were contained inside void spaces, and all of the narcotics were subsequently destroyed at sea.”

This is the Royal Australian Navy’s 68th deployment to the Middle East Region since 1990 and the sixth mission for HMAS Toowoomba.