A sea turtle had to be rescued after it was founded entangled within $53 million (£39.6 million) worth of cocaine in the eastern Pacific.
According to the US Coast Guard, the crew of the cutter Thetis encountered the loggerhead turtle entangled in 1,800lb of narcotics during a 68-day mission.
The drugs haul found by the boat crew is believed to be worth an estimated $53 million. Man, someone at the top of the criminal underworld is not going to be pleased.
[ooyala player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”720″ autoplay=”true” pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l” code=”JydXlxZDE6oGxM903FKWPS8EMNnTqfde”]
A statement issued by the Coast Guard said:
The cutter Thetis crew worked alongside the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team, an aviation detachment from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron and a Royal Canadian Navy maritime coastal defense vessel in support of Operation Martillo seizing 6,755 kilograms of cocaine and 14 pounds of marijuana during eight separate interdictions that resulted in the apprehension of 24 suspected smugglers.
It went on to say:
While on patrol Nov. 19, the cutter launched its Over the Horizon small boat to investigate a debris field. The boat crew discovered a large sea turtle entangled in multiple bales of suspected contraband.
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.
They saw significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers. They briefed the commanding officer and went to work, carefully cutting the lines wrapped around the sea turtle and then eventually freeing him.
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 cutter crew is part of an operation which targets criminal organisations. Dubbed Operation Martillo it is an international effort which involves 18 other countries in the US, Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
It was launched back in January 2012 in an effort to target ‘illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus’.
The US Coast Guard statement added:
Operation Martillo demonstrates a clear commitment of the Western Hemisphere and European nations to work as partners to counter the spread of transnational criminal organizations and to protect citizens in Central America from the violence, harm and exploitation created by these criminal networks.
As of now, its partner nations have contributed to 57% of all disruptions to illicit trafficking and 60% of the metric tons captured as part of the initiative.
But that turtle.