Kiwis' role in billion-dollar high seas drug bust praised

The drugs won't make it to their intended destination. Photo credit: Getty

The head of the country's naval fleet is praising two sailors who helped seize almost $1 billion worth of drugs in the Middle East.

Te Orangapumau Elia and Daniel Peihopa piloted the boarding party boats, which seized more than 11.5 tonnes of hashish and more than a tonne of heroin from traffickers in the western Indian Ocean.

All-up the drugs they secured had an estimated street value of $980 million.

Cmdre Jim Gilmore says New Zealanders should be proud of the pair.

"They did their country and their service proud. I'm as proud as any New Zealander in heaping praise on these two guys."

He says the raids will be a big hit to the terror organisations using the drugs to fund their operations.

"Once we hear that busts in the order of $235 million at a time, it's very pleasing. It's very satisfying that we know this is not making it to the people who would use it in the execution of terrorism."

The Navy is working with 31 other countries to prevent piracy, terrorism and trafficking.

The raids rook place from late December.