Turtle Tangled in $53 Million Worth of Cocaine Rescued By U.S. Coast Guard

December 22, 2017, 5:24 PM UTC

A sea turtle tangled in rope attached to $53 million-worth of cocaine was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard in November.

While on a 68-day drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard cutter Thetis launched a small boat to investigate an area of flotsam reported by military planes. The crew discovered the turtle, tangled in rope tied to 1,800 pounds of cocaine.

After briefing command, the crew cut the lines, which had caused “significant chaffing” on the turtle’s neck and flippers, and released the turtle. In addition to the drug contraband, 75 feet of line were recovered to prevent further danger to ocean wildlife.

The Coast Guard tweeted video footage of the rescue and posted a few tongue-in-cheek tweets:

The Coast Guard believes that the turtle got caught in the line, which was connecting 26 packages of cocaine, after the contraband was thrown overboard by smugglers.

“They probably felt the heat coming and got rid of it,” Commander Jose Diaz told NBC News.

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.