Illegal Lobster Seized Four Days Before Season

 MIAMI – Coast Guard crews along with Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine officials and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials worked hand in hand to stop a high-speed lobster smuggling attempt Friday, just four days before lobster mini-season begins.

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin spotted the vessel with two people aboard 30 miles east of Miami traveling at speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour.

The crew of the Dolphin attempted to stop the vessel it by energizing its blue law enforcement lights, hailing and signaling the vessel.

After the vessel ignored several orders to stop, the Coast Guard notified CBP Air and Marine and requested assistance.

CBP Air Marine hot-fueled a Blackhawk helicopter that had just returned from a patrol and re-launched the helicopter to assist the Coast Guard.

The CBP helicopter intercepted the vessel approximately eight miles east of Miami.

Crewmembers from a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach response boat boarded the vessel. During a search of the vessel the boarding team found 37 lobster tails, which are currently out of season in both the U.S. and the Bahamas.

Following the find of the lobster tails the boarding team notified FWC officials.

FWC officials then requested the Coast Guard bring the 40-foot vessel to Coast Guard Station Miami Beach where they could perform a more in-depth boarding.

The two suspects, who are U.S. citizens, were cited by both the Coast Guard and FWC for violations of state and federal laws.

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