DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The US Navy announced on Thursday it had rescued five Iranians suspected of drug trafficking after apparently setting fire to their hideout aboard a traditional sailboat off the coast of Oman, although ‘one is still missing.
The Navy released aerial surveillance footage showing the traditional vessel, known as the dhow, as it sailed in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday. Smoke rises from the ship after those on board apparently lit the fire, with an explosion shaking the ship.
Sailors from the patrol vessel USS Sirocco arrived later, saving the men. Sailors also recovered over 1,745 kilograms (3,850 pounds) of hashish, 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of methamphetamine and 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of heroin. The Navy valued the recovered drugs at $ 14.7 million.
Sailors believe this was only half of all drugs aboard the dhow, with the rest burning or sinking with the ship, Cmdr said. Timothy Hawkins, spokesperson for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in the Middle East.
The five Iranians rescued from the dhow received medical treatment and were handed over to authorities in Oman, the navy said. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident on Thursday.
The Navy and allied forces in the region conduct anti-narcotics patrols in the waterways of the Middle East. Smugglers often use dhows to covertly transport Afghan heroin and other drugs across the region.
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