A turtle was found entangled in nearly 7,000 kilograms of cocaine and 14 pounds of marijuana.
The discovery was made by the US Coast Guard during a 68-day Eastern Pacific counter drug patrol.
A total of 24 suspected smugglers were arrested.
A US Coast Guard spokesman said: ‘While on patrol Nov. 19, the cutter launched its Over the Horizon small boat to investigate a debris field. The boat crew discovered a large sea turtle entangled in multiple bales of suspected contraband.
‘Coast Guard Ens. Mark Krebs, the pursuit mission commander, said that as his team arrived on scene with the jettison field, they immediately noticed the entangled sea turtle. They saw significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers. They briefed the commanding officer and went to work, carefully cutting the lines wrapped around the sea turtle and then eventually freeing him.
‘The boat crew recovered over 75-feet of line to prevent further entanglement of sea life and returned to the law enforcement mission recovering over 1,800 pounds of cocaine valued at over $53 million dollars from international waters.’
They believe their entire mission eliminated nearly seven tons of illicit narcotics with a street value over $135 million dollars.
Operation Martillo is a US, European and Western Hemisphere partner-nation effort launched in January 2012 targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.
It includes the participation of 18 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.
To date, partner nation efforts have contributed to 57 percent of all disruptions to illicit trafficking and 60 percent of the metric tons captured as part of the Operation Martillo initiative.
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