The Coast Guard helped free a turtle from packages of cocaine worth $53 million that were tangled in its flippers during a 68-day counter-drug mission across the eastern Pacific.
“Coast Guard Ens. Mark Krebs, the pursuit mission commander, said that as his team arrived on scene with the jettison field, they immediately noticed the entangled sea turtle,” the Coast Guard said in a statement, according to Fox News on Wednesday. “They saw significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers.”
The patrol worked diligently to free the giant sea turtle, which had become entangled in numerous bales of contraband. The boat’s crewmen responsible for rescuing the turtle in distress were working aboard the Coast Guard’s “Thetis,” teaming with the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team in the lengthly mission dubbed “Operation Martillo” when they found the turtle.
The creature’s rescue pairs nicely with the operation’s efforts to prevent an influx of drugs entering the U.S. and other countries. At the end of the nearly 70-day mission, the team seized roughly 1,800 pounds of cocaine and 14 pounds of marijuana, according to a U.S. Coast Guard bulletin.
The boat crew also reeled in more than 75-feet of line in order to prevent other sea creatures from getting caught in the rope. They deposited the cocaine with law enforcement upon returning to their home base in Key West, Florida.
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