Members of the Costa Rican Coast Guard rescued three green sea turtles found bound by poachers and left on beaches Tuesday night during the course of conducting searches for suspected drug traffickers along the Caribbean coast, officials said.
Two dead green sea turtles were also recovered.
Rodolfo Murillo, head of Coast Guard operations, said the turtles were discovered tied and left on the beach. A boat captured last week suspected of smuggling marijuana near the port of Limón led to increased patrols in the area this week.
At about 8 p.m. Tuesday night, members of a patrol spotted a suspicious boat near Limón, according a report by the Public Security Ministry. When the Coast Guard patrol moved to intercept the craft, occupants of the boat rammed the patrol boat, injuring two officers. One suspect, with the last name León, jumped overboard, injuring his hand and groin. A second suspect fled south in the direction of Westfalia.
León and the two Coast Guard officers were treated for minor injuries.
The search for the fleeing boat and its captain lasted through the night. At 3 a.m., patrols discovered two green sea turtles bound on Cieneguita Beach. A few hours later, three more turtles were found nearby.
The Coast Guard will coordinate with the Environment Ministry to bury the dead turtles and release the living ones.