Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing US waters

A lancha floats near a pier in southern Texas waters after being seized by Coast Guard law enforcement crews on May 23, 2018. Lanchas are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and fish illegally in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Coast Guard photo

A lancha floats near a pier in southern Texas waters after being seized by Coast Guard law enforcement crews on May 23, 2018.  U.S. Coast Guard photo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted a Mexican lancha boat crew engaged in illegal fishing in federal waters off southern Texas, Wednesday afternoon.

Coast Guard crews stopped one lancha with a total of four Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. One lancha boat, with nine red snapper and fishing gear onboard, was seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, typically has 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 fish illegally in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi has detected 158 lanchas, 45 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S.-Mexico maritime border since Oct. 1, 2017.

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- 939-6393.

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