The Canadian navy warship HMCS Toronto struck a "massive" blow against international drug traffickers Friday when it seized more than 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of heroin from a boat in the Indian Ocean.
The drugs, which have an estimated street value of more than $100 million, were uncovered after a naval boarding party searched the vessel during a security operation. In an interview with the CBC, Cmdr. David Patchell, the warship's commanding officer, said the bust represents one of the largest seizures of heroin on the high seas.
"Very possibly these drugs could have ended up on Canadian streets," Patchell said, adding that the drugs likely originated in Afghanistan and were destined for a port in Africa, although it is difficult to know for sure.
A statement from Canada's defense department said the heroin was confiscated without incident and destroyed.
“This massive narcotics seizure is one example of how our Canadian Armed Forces members deployed in Canada and around the world are making a difference in international security and stability by denying criminals, and possibly terrorists, their source of funding,” Defense Minister Peter MacKay said in the release.
According to CTV news, international drug traffickers are turning increasingly to maritime routes for smuggling narcotics.
The HMCS Toronto is part of an international naval task force that patrols the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.