Minister for Defence - HMAS Toowoomba drug seizure

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Senator the Hon David Johnston

Minister for Defence

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20 November 2014

The Royal Australian Navy has once again dealt a blow to international drug smuggling in the Indian Ocean with HMAS Toowoomba intercepting and seizing 388 kg of heroin off the coast of Africa.

Minister for Defence Senator Johnston said the crew of Toowoomba boarded a dhow in international waters and discovered the drugs in a sealed compartment.

Senator Johnston said the drugs seized had an estimated street value of AUS $155 million and profits would have provided funding for known terrorist organisations.

“Australia’s Navy personnel are doing an outstanding job in the Indian Ocean. This is a significant seizure and it is testimony to their professionalism and dedication, and I wholeheartedly congratulate them,” Senator Johnston said.

“This is the second seizure by Toowoomba as part of Australia’s contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security in the Middle East Region.

“In September the ship’s company seized more than 5.6 tonnes of cannabis resin onboard a dhow off the east coast of Africa.”

“That seizure, found in a hidden compartment after an exhaustive search of the dhow, involved 267 bags of resin with a street value of around AUS $280 million.”

Senator Johnston said Australia has committed Navy vessels and personnel to support the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

The CMF works to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking, and to promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.

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Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s office) 0477 389 554

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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