A large sea turtle was found entangled to large bales containing $53 million worth of cocaine, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Floating around the turtle were 26 bales containing the drugs. The turtle was spotted in the eastern Pacific Ocean by a Coast Guard vessel out on a 68-day counter-trafficking mission.
The crew discovered the turtle on Nov. 19 and cut the turtle free before releasing it back into the ocean, the Coast Guard said in a release published this week.
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Anti-drug operations by the Coast Guard have resulted in multiple apprehensions of suspected smugglers and in the recovery of seven tons of illicit narcotics “with a street value over $135 million dollars,” the Coast Guard said.
The seizures are part of Operation Martillo, a joint initiative of 18 countries.
“Operation Martillo demonstrates a clear commitment of the Western Hemisphere and European nations to work as partners to counter the spread of transnational criminal organizations and to protect citizens in Central America from the violence, harm and exploitation created by these criminal networks,” the Coast Guard said.