Coast Guard crew seizes a lancha, 297 illegally caught fish, & detain crew of 4 Mexican nationals apprehended fishing in US waters in the US Exclusive Economic Zone.
The cutter's crew spotted the lancha 10 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. The crew launched a small boat to pursue the lancha, which stopped and was boarded. The crew was able to determine that the four Mexicans onboard had been fishing illegally, having caught 272 red snapper, four mackerel and 21 blacktip shark.
The four Mexicans were turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents for repatriation, the vessel was seized and the catch was disposed of at sea.
"These Mexican lancha vessels engage in narcotics trafficking, exploit the sensitive natural resources of Southwest Texas and constitute a persistent challenge to U.S. sovereignty", said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, Chief of Response at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. State and federal maritime law enforcement agencies are currently conducting Operation Sea Serpent - a dedicated multinational and interagency operation on the border to combat this threat. The Coast Guard has interdicted seven lancha vessels illegally fishing in U.S. waters since August 1st and a total of 34 over the previous 11 months."