U.S. Coast Guard rescues sea turtle tangled in floating bales of cocaine

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.

A U.S. Coast Guard drug patrol crew freed a trapped sea turtle. United States Coast Guard/Facebook

“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.

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

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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