Coast Guard interdicts 2 lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

The Coast Guard Cutter Harold Miller sits moored during the commissioning ceremony at Sector Field Office Galveston, Texas, July 15, 2020. The crew of the Harold Miller will have a patrol area encompassing 900 miles of coastline for the Coast Guard’s Eighth District, from Carrabelle, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas.

Coast Guard Cutter Harold Miller file photo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Multiple Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted two Mexican lancha boat crews illegally fishing in federal waters off southern Texas, Thursday.

The Coast Guard Cutter Harold Miller crew, in coordination with a Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew, located and stopped two lanchas with a total of eight Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing.

Coast Guard personnel interdicted two lancha boats with high flyers, GPS devices, radios and fishing gear on board. One lancha boat was found to have 400 pounds of red snapper on board. Coast Guard crews detained the Mexican fishermen and transferred them to border enforcement agents for processing.

“Thanks to the unwavering teamwork and coordination between our aircrews and the Harold Miller crew, we were able to halt two illegal fishing vessels from further impacting our Nation’s critical marine resources,” said Lt. Alexis Williams, command duty officer, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “Continuing to safeguard our Nation’s borders and terminate illegal fishing operations remains one of the Coast Guard’s top priorities.”

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 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 activity or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-0450.

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