The U.S. coast guard has rescued a turtle but shockingly the sea animal was discovered trapped in bundles of cocaine worth $53 million.
Coast Guard Cutter Thetis crew members found the distressed turtle tangled in rope while they were conducting their usual patrol as part of Operation Martillo in the Eastern Pacific.
Footage from the coast guard shows the turtle floating in the water near a buoy as it is surrounded by 26 bales.
The crew went into quick action as soon as they got near the reptile and cut the ropes to free the turtle. Crew members estimate that the turtle has been in that area of the waters possibly for days due to the chafing marks around its neck.
The crew followed the 75-feet long line and discovered the stratling 816 kg of cocaine.
During their more than 2 months operation, the Cutter recovered a total of 6,713 kg of cocaine and 6kg of marijuana. 24 people have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling.
Operation Martillo is a joint effort between the U.S. coast guard and international law enforcement partners to stop the illegal drug trade that uses the vast seas to transport the prohibited stuff.
It is not yet clear whether the turtle distressed for what it was made to endure was turned over to proper authorities handling animal welfare and rescue for treatment of possible wounds, or if the reptile has been returned freely to the seas where it naturally belongs.
There is no official word yet if the authorities have established the source or intended destination of the cocaine the turtle was “carrying”, or if arrests have been made for those responsible.