CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard seized a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, in the waters off South Texas, Monday.
At 11 p.m. Sunday, an Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew aboard an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane located a lancha 20 miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and 30 miles offshore.
The aircrew vectored in the Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk and a 33-foot law enforcement boat from Station South Padre Island; the lancha was chased for 30 miles before it stopped south of the maritime border.
The lancha and four Mexican nationals were transferred to Station South Padre Island for processing. Illegal long line fishing gear was found aboard the vessel.
The master has a criminal record in the United States and has been previously caught fishing in U.S. waters.
“When a vessel doesn’t stop, it poses risk and injury to Coast Guard responders and the Mexican fisherman. Fortunately, no one was injured this time,” said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, the response officer at Sector Corpus Christi.
Since Oct. 1, 2014, 166 lanchas have been detected and 27 lanchas have been seized in U.S. waters.
If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). For all suspicious or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.