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Sea turtle found with $53 million of cocaine in Coast Guard rescue

The 1,800 pounds of cocaine bales were bundled together with 75 feet of thick rope, which acted as an unintentional net, which trapped the sea turtle. (U.S. Coast Guard)
December 28, 2017

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a sea turtle that was found entangled in 23 bales of cocaine valued at $53 million, according to Fox News. The rescue mission took place in November.

The loggerhead turtle was spotted while the Coast Guard cutter Thetis was on a 68-day drug patrol in the eastern pacific. The entanglement was reported by military planes flying nearby, which trigged an investigation by the Coast Guard.

Sea turtle stuck in 23 bales of cocaine (Fox News/Twitter)

The U.S. Coast Guard posted a variety of satirical tweets and a video of the rescue scene:


The 1,800 pounds of cocaine bales were bundled together with 75 feet of thick rope, which acted as an unintentional net, which trapped the sea turtle.

After being assessed by the crew, they noticed that the turtle received ‘significant chaffing’ from the friction caused by the rope, but it was in adequate condition to be released. After cutting away some rope, the turtle was free to go.

It is alleged by the Coast Guard that smugglers abandoned the bales of cocaine while at sea. Following the release of the sea turtle, they impounded the contraband and removed the rope to ensure the safety of other sea creatures.

The Coast Guard cracked a joke on Twitter about the matter;

During their mission, the cutter crew successfully seized 14 pounds of marijuana and 14,800 pounds of cocaine. They were part of Operation Martillo, which focused on criminal organizations from 18 countries.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in an article from NBC News, the demand and availability for cocaine in the United States is on the rise. While America is dealing with the threat of the opioid crisis, the use of cocaine is ‘reaching or passing levels not seen for a decade in some cases.’

Columbia is the main source of cocaine that is sold in the United States. The DEA believes that farmers in the South American nation have ‘hiked their output’ to keep up with the growing demand. The DEA’s annual drug assessment report revealed that cocaine use in the U.S. dropped between 2009 and 2013, but was up to 1.5 million in 2014, and up even more to 1.9 million in 2015.

The Columbian rebel group FARC signed a peace deal in 2016, in which it pledged to cease its involvement in the trade of illegal drugs. The goal from the peace deal was to end the Columbian drug trafficking issue but the growing worldwide demand for cocaine is making that goal difficult to achieve.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration have worked together in the past to eliminate and mitigate the trafficking of illegal drugs.