Multi-Agency Effort Results in Arrests for Narcotics, Weapons and Fishery Violations

SANDY HOOK, N.J. – Two crewmembers from a 65-foot charter fishing boat were arrested for reported narcotics possession, a weapons charge and fisheries violations, after a multi-agency team boarded the fishing vessel near Buoy 15 in the Sandy Hook Channel at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Investigators from the Coast Guard Field Intelligence Support Team (FIST) and New Jersey state municipal authorities received reports of possible illegal narcotics activity on board the SEA FOX, which was currently underway on an overnight fishing trip to the Hudson Canyon, 85 miles off shore, with 18 passengers and eight crewmembers.

The Coast Guard First District Command Center sent a HU25 Falcon Jet and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas to locate the SEA FOX. The Falcon jet located the fishing vessel traveling inbound toward Sandy Hook. The Dallas, a 378-foot high endurance cutter, homeported in Charleston, S.C., was conducting search and rescue, homeland security and living marine resources missions when diverted.

A Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook 41-fooy boat crew intercepted and boarded the SEA FOX. During the initial safety inspection the boarding team found 700 lbs. of illegally caught tuna. The SEA FOX’s captain was issued several fishery violations.

The SEA FOX was escorted back to the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina where the New Jersey state and local authorities, including canine units, conducted a full investigation.

Several small bags containing cocaine and heroin were found and authorities found an unregistered hand gun. Local authorities took the captain into custody for narcotics, weapons violations and not having a tuna fishing permit.

The passengers of the SEA FOX were interviewed and then released and allowed to keep their catch.

After the completion of the crew interviews a Station Sandy Hook boarding team member noticed a SEA FOX crewmember toss an unknown object over board. The contents of the recovered contraband tested positive for heroin. The crewmember was taken into custody.

“Operating a vessel, especially one with 18 passengers, while under the influence can have dangerous consequences”, said Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Weiss, boarding officer at Station Sandy Hook.

This incident is under investigation.

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