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Turtle tangled in cocaine bundles freed by US Coast Guard crew

23 December 2017

A large sea turtle was found entangled to large bales containing $53 million worth of cocaine, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The innocent creature became entangled in dozens of bales of drugs as the intrusive objects floated straight into the sea turtle's natural habitat.

The sea turtle was discovered while the cutter Thetis was on a 68-day counter-drug patrol in the eastern Pacific, 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.

Crew worked quickly to free the wounded reptile.

On November 19, the Thetis launched a small boat to check out a floating debris field.

Officials think the cocaine was thrown overboard when a patrol got too close, NBC reported.

Chafing on the turtle's neck and flippers suggested it had been stuck in the lines for up to a day or two, Ensign Mark Krebs said, the Miami Herald reported.

In all, the 26 bundles weighed approximately 800 kilos.

During the patrol, which was part of Operation Martillo, "nearly seven tons of illicit narcotics with a street value over $135 million dollars" was recovered, according to the Coast Guard. In addition, the operation resulted in the seizure of 14 pounds of marijuana and the apprehension of 24 smuggling suspects.

Turtle tangled in cocaine bundles freed by US Coast Guard crew