This August, a turtle decided to take a stroll through a cannabis garden in a secluded part of one of America’s public parklands. This wouldn’t have been a problem for the resourceful horticulturist responsible for the plantation if it hadn’t been for the fact that this particular turtle was fitted with a GPS tracking device and followed by a park ranger. When the park ranger realised that the turtle had led him to an outdoor hydroponics lab, he contacted the police who stalked out the patch and eventually arrested its illicit gardener.

Florida Box Turtle GPS tagged turtle ruins criminal master plan
Florida Box Turtle. Picture by: Jonathan Zander

He felt like he had a layer of security, but he probably never counted on a turtle with a tracking device leading us to that location and finding the field,” says Sergeant Robert Lachance of the U.S. Park Police. On a personal note I must humbly admit that I likely would have made the same misstake and been caught by Sergeant Robert Lachance as well. But after this I will make sure to consider the risk of turtlea with GPS tracking devices if I ever decide to get into the drug trade. (Just joking!)

The park in question was the Rock Creek Park, a large urban natural area with public park facilities that bisects Washington, D.C. The parklands follow the course of Rock Creek across the border between D.C. and Maryland and connect with the Rock Creek Stream Valley Park and the Rock Creek Regional Park in Montgomery County.