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U.S. Coast Guard find sea turtle floating with 800 kilos of cocaine at sea

December 21, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
U.S. Coast Guard find sea turtle floating with 800 kilos of cocaine at sea

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Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard seized close to seven tons of cocaine–along with an entangled sea turtle–during an operation conducted in the eastern portion the Pacific Ocean.

The turtle survived the almost deadly encounter with the drugs that had been set adrift by smugglers.

Members aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis were on a temporary assignment to the Pacific Ocean in November. The ship and its crew are typically stationed in Florida.

Throughout the 68-day deployment, the crew collaborated with the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team and the Royal Canadian Navy to conduct drug interdiction operations in the eastern Pacific, according to the Miami Herald.

On November 19th, the Thetis launched a boat to inspect a floating debris field. While investigating, the crew discovered roughly $53 million in cocaine floating in the ocean. An endangered species sea turtle had become trapped by the lines holding loads of cocaine together.

The drugs consisted of 26 bundles of cocaine. Coast Guard Commander Jose Diaz said the drugs were likely abandoned by a “go-fast vessel” used to smuggle drugs in the area.

“They felt the heat coming and got rid of it,” Diaz said to NBC News.

The lines became entangled around the animal’s neck and fins. “There were marks on her neck so she may have been there a day or two,” Diaz added.

In total, the 26 bundles weighed roughly 800 kilos.

Operation Martillo 2017 led to the seizure of almost seven tons of cocaine work an estimated $135 million. Additionally, the operation also resulted in the seizure of 14 pounds of marijuana and the arrest of 24 smuggling suspects.

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