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Coast Guard rescues sea turtle entangled in $53M worth of cocaine

A Coast Guard Cutter Thetis boat crew arrives on scene with a jettison field and an entangled sea turtle during a 68-day Eastern Pacific counter drug patrol in 2017. They saw significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers. (Coast Guard photo)

(KMPH) -- During a 68-day Eastern Pacific counter drug patrol, a crew with the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a large sea turtle entangled in $53 million worth of cocaine.

While on patrol in November, the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast Cutter Thetis launched a small boat to investigate debris in the field. The crew found a large sea turtle entangled in multiple bales of suspected contraband.

Coast Guard Ens. Mark Krebs said the crew saw significant chaffing from the lines on the sea turtle's neck and flippers. The crew then carefully cut the lines wrapped around the sea turtle, eventually freeing him.

The Coast Guard says the crew recovered more than 75 feet of line to prevent further entanglement of sea life and returned to their mission. The crew recovered more than 1,800 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $53 million from international waters.

By the end of their patrol, the crew had seized a total of 14,861 pounds (6,755 kilograms) of cocaine, 14 pounds of marijuana and apprehended 24 suspected smugglers.




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