KEY WEST, Fla. (CBS4) — The Coast Guard came to the rescue of a sea turtle found caught up in large amounts of contraband.
The Coast Guard Cutter Thetis is based out of Key West and returned from a 68-day counter drug patrol the in Eastern Pacific on Sunday, according to an official statement.
While on patrol on Nov. 19, the cutter launched its small boat to investigate some debris floating in the water.
The boat crew discovered a large sea turtle entangled in a net with multiple gray, rectangular blocks.
The crew said the turtle had significant chaffing from the lines on his neck and flippers.
“Aw, his neck’s all raw,” you can hear one crew member say in the video. “Sorry, buddy.”
The crew went to work, carefully cutting the lines wrapped around the sea turtle, and eventually freed him.
The crew collected over 75-feet of line to prevent further entanglement — along with over 1,800 pounds of cocaine valued at over $53 million.
During the 68-day patrol, the combined efforts of the cutter Thetis crew, the Joint Interagency Task Force South, the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team and other Coast Guard assets eliminated nearly seven tons of cocaine and marijuana with a street value over $135 million dollars, officials said.
They also apprehended 24 suspected smugglers.