Anti-drug sweep leads to discovery of captive green turtles

Coast guard officers sweeping the beaches for possible illegal drugs found two dead and three live green turtles early Wednesday. Two of the turtles, including one dead one, were tied up.

The case began with what officers of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas thought was a drug intercept. They tried to detain a boat in the water not far from Hospital Tony Facio in Limón.

The operator of the suspicious boat crashed his vessel into a coast guard launch, and then the two men on board fled. In doing so one of the men suffered deep cuts. And officers thought that the pair threw a bundle into the ocean before jumping off the boat.

Both the suspect and the two Guardacostas officers on the small patrol boat were hospitalized.

Meanwhile the search begin for what was thrown into the sea. At 5 a.m. an aircraft of the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea joined the search to sweep Cieneguita, Westfalia and other nearby beaches. Some 50 police officers were involved in the search, said officials.

Searchers found the two turtles about 3 a.m. and the other three at 6 a.m.,said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública. Police officers said they coordinated with environmental officials to bury the two dead green turtles and liberate the three live ones.

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