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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard interdicted four lancha crews and seized 320 pounds of illegally caught fish in waters subject to U.S. law enforcement off Southern Texas, Monday.
Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi command center watchstanders received a notification from U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations personnel of lancha crews transiting north approximately 6 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line.
A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew diverted to detect and locate the lanchas. The Coast Guard Daniel Tarr crew made the following interdictions:
- At 10:22 p.m. Sunday, four Mexican fishermen aboard a lancha 36 miles north of the MBL with fishing gear, bait, GPS, and a radio on board;
- At 11:33 p.m. Sunday, four Mexican fishermen aboard a lancha 41 miles north of the MBL with 20 pounds of red snapper, fishing gear, bait, a GPS, and a radio on board;
- At 12:39 a.m. Monday, five Mexican fishermen aboard a lancha 45 miles north of the MBL with 100 pounds of red snapper, fishing gear, bait, a GPS, and a radio on board;
- At 1:04 a.m. Monday, four Mexican fishermen aboard a lancha 45 miles north of the MBL with 200 pounds of red snapper, fishing gear, bait, a GPS, and a radio on board.
The Daniel Tarr crew detained the 17 Mexican fishermen, brought them ashore and transferred them to border enforcement agents for processing.
“Coast Guard crews maintain a vigilant presence along our maritime boundary to protect our natural resources and prevent an economic drain on our well-regulated fishing industry," said Coast Guard Cmdr. Dawn Prebula, chief of response, Sector Corpus Christi. "We couldn’t perform this tireless mission without the assistance and close coordination of all our partners and sub-units.”
A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, having one outboard motor, and is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph. Lanchas are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and illegally fish in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico.
If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing out to 200 miles offshore, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.
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