Coast Guard interdicts 2 lancha crews off Texas coast

Coast Guard Cutter Edgar Culbertson file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paige Hause

Coast Guard Cutter Edgar Culbertson file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paige Hause

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard interdicted two lancha crews and seized 200 pounds of illegally caught fish in federal waters off southern Texas, Thursday.

Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi command center watchstanders received a notification from a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew of lancha crews engaged in illegal fishing approximately 2 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line.

A Coast Guard Station South Padre Island 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement crew launched while the Coast Guard Cutter Edgar Culbertson crew diverted to intercept the lanchas. The SPC–LE crew and a 26-foot over-the-horizon cutter boatcrew from the Culbertson arrived on scene and subsequently seized two lanchas with fishing gear and a combined 200 pounds of red snapper onboard.

The Coast Guard crews detained the nine Mexican fishermen and transferred them to border enforcement agents for processing.

“Thanks to the incredible coordination between multiple Coast Guard units, we are able to continue working towards safeguarding our country’s critical marine resources,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Behrens, Station South Padre Island coxswain on the case. “Training to work cohesively and fluidly with other units allows us to accomplish our missions like we did in this case.”

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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