In the midst of a 68-day patrol to catch drug smugglers and intercept contraband, the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Thetis made a heroic rescue after discovering a sea turtle trapped among 26 packages containing cocaine.
A military plane spotted a debris field while patrolling the eastern Pacific and called the Thetis to the area, according to NBC News. A small boat was launched to retrieve the contraband and guardsmen found a sea turtle tangled among the 75-feet of lines.
"They saw significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers," the Coast Guard said in a statement, according to the SunSentinel.
As seen in the video, a guardsman cut the lines away and freed the sea turtle. Guardsmen then collected 26 rectangular packages containing 1,800 pounds of cocaine that was likely tossed overboard from a go-fast boat by smugglers thinking they were on the verge of getting caught.
While in the Eastern Pacific with international law enforcement partners from Canada and elsewhere as part of the ongoing Operation Martillo (hammer), the crew of the Thetis helped seize 6,755 kilograms (14,892 pounds) and 14 pounds of marijuana, the Coast Guard said. The seizures were part of eight interdictions that also resulted in the apprehension of 24 suspected smugglers, according to the agency...
Operation Martillo was launched in 2012 by a cooperative of 14 countries to help combat transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.
During its just-concluded patrol, the Thetis -- along with the Joint Interagency Task Force South and other partners -- seized drugs with a street value exceeding $135 million, the Coast Guard said.
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