Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing US waters

A lancha moored to a pier after being seized by Coast Guard law enforcement crews in southern Texas, Feb. 11, 2019. 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 by Station South Padre Island.

A lancha moored to a pier after being seized by Coast Guard law enforcement crews in southern Texas, Feb. 11, 2019.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station South Padre Island.

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

Coast Guard crews stopped three lanchas with a total of 14 Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. Three lancha boats, with fishing gear onboard, were 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 55 lanchas, 42 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S.-Mexico Maritime Border since Oct. 1, 2018.

If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters (out to nine 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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