Local chopper crew helps in Middle East drug busts

THE crew of HMAS Melbourne has made another significant drug bust in the Middle East, seizing almost two tonnes of cannabis resin. The drugs had Australian street value of about $113 million.

That raid, along with two earlier operations secured more than a billion dollars of drugs in the past few weeks.

In a joint operation with a Pakistani warship, a boarding party from the HMAS Melbourne found 4000 bricks of cannabis resin in a fishing boat off Oman.

A seahawk helicopter from 816 squadron at Nowra based on HMAS Melbourne, had been patrolling the Persian Gulf and waters off the coast of Africa since August.

Earlier in the month the crew was part of a raid on a fishing vessel near Tanzania that seized 191 kilograms of heroin worth $380 million on the black market.

That same crew from HMAS Albatross was also part of an earlier seizure of more than $700 million worth of drugs.

During its time on deployment the HMAS Melbourne also stopped nine suspected pirate boats operating of the coast of Somalia.

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