By Courtney Trenwith
Australian, Pakistani navies seized two tonnes of cannabis resin they say was intended to fund extremist groups
Australian and Pakistani navies seized almost two tonnes of cannabis resin, worth $102 million, from a dhow off the coast of Oman, AFP has reported.
The commander of HMAS Melbourne, Brian Schlegel, said the drugs, estimated to have a street value of $102m, are believed to have been intended for sale to help fund extremist groups that rely on illegal drug shipments for income.
“The 62 bags contain cannabis resin bricks, almost 4000 bricks in total. Each brick is more than enough to buy an AK-47 or IED [improvised explosive device] components,” Schlegel said.
“Removing the funding that flows from the sale of these drugs has a direct impact on a terrorist organisation’s ability to buy weapons in the future.”
HMAS Melbourne and Pakistan’s PNS Alamgir intercepted and boarded the dhow east of Oman’s Masriah Island, where they found the cannabis resin hidden in a secret compartment in its fishing hold.
The Melbourne is in the Indian Ocean on global anti-piracy operations and has intercepted nine suspected pirate vessels since leaving Australia in August 2013.
During its present mission, it also has seized 543 kilograms of heroin estimated to be worth more than $1bn, including a 353kg bust off the coast of Tanzania earlier this month.