Coast Guard interdicts lancha crews illegally fishing US waters

Coast Guard Cutter Alligator file photo by Seaman Meredith A. Manning

Coast Guard Cutter Alligator file photo by Seaman Meredith A. Manning

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

Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrews in coordination with crews from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island and the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator located and stopped three lanchas with a total of thirteen Mexican fishermen engaged in illegal fishing. Three lancha boats, with fishing gear onboard, along with 496 total pounds of illegal catch were seized. The Mexican fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents for processing.

“These interdictions showcased the Coast Guard’s unique ability to seamlessly coordinate multiple resources over hundreds of miles to effectively execute our mission,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Lovell, a boatswain’s mate aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator. “We could not have done it without all of the participating members involved.”

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 interdicted five lanchas north of the U.S.-Mexico Maritime Border since Oct. 1, 2019.

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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