Australian warship seizes a tonne of heroin worth £159 million in record drug bust

Sacks of heroin were concealed in bags of cement on a sailing boat

An Australian warship patrolling the Indian Ocean has seized more than a tonne of heroin worth A$289 million (£159 million) Australia's Defence Department said on Friday.

The dhow sailing boat was intercepted by HMAS Darwin off Kenya’s port city of Mombasa on Wednesday night and 1,023 kg (2,255 pounds) of heroin hidden in 46 sacks of cement were confiscated, the department's website said.

The haul is believed to be the force's largest ever. The drugs were destroyed shortly after they were seized.

"This is a major heroin seizure, which has removed a major source of funding from terrorist criminal networks," Commander Terry Morrison, HMAS Darwin's Commanding Officer said.

There has been a surge in the volumes of heroin trafficked through eastern Africa in the past few years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Heroin is typically routed through the region - known for its porous borders and weak maritime surveillance - from Pakistan and Iran on its way to Europe.

HMAS Darwin is in the region as part of a group naval force - the Coalition Maritime Forces (CMF) - to counter piracy, militancy, smuggling and other illegal activities in an area covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman.

Additional reporting by agencies

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