Quick-acting – and kind-hearted – members of the United States Coast Guard saved a large sea turtled entwined in bundles of cocaine worth a whopping $53-million.
The Coast Guard Cutter Thetis returned to its port in Key West, Florida over the weekend after a 68-day drug patrol and is only now sharing the wildlife rescue.
It was on patrol Nov. 19 when the cutter launched a small boat to check out a floating debris field.
That’s when the crew found one very distressed and very large sea turtle lodged among multiple bales of what officers figured was contraband.
Mission commander Coast Guard Ens. Mark Krebs said his crew noticed “significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers.”
That’s when they carefully cut the lines and freed the turtle.
“The boat crew recovered over 75-feet of line to prevent further entanglement of sea life and returned to the law enforcement mission recovering over 1,800 pounds of cocaine valued at over $53 million dollars from international waters,” the U.S. Coast Guard said.
#BreakingNews @USCG Cutter Thetis returned to homeport in Key West today after a 68-day Eastern Pacific counter drug patrol. On patrol the cutter Thetis seized nearly 7 tons of cocaine and rescued ocean wildlife. Read more at https://t.co/43zV3uDqm1 pic.twitter.com/EsYgU8Dr8S
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) December 17, 2017
The effort was part of an international mission called Operation Martillo, which eventually seized 6,755 kilograms of cocaine, 14 pounds of marijuana and arrested 24 suspected smugglers during eight separate incidents.
Watch the officers untangle the otherwise doomed sea turtle.
Photos United States Coast Guard