CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi crews located and intercepted a Mexican fishing crew poaching in U.S waters early this morning.
At approximately 10 p.m. Wednesday on a routine patrol, an HU-25 Falcon airplane crew spotted a 25-foot lancha with three people aboard, approximately 31 miles off South Padre Island and 11 miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border. The lancha was headed north at 15 to 20 knots, but upon seeing the low-flying airplane, the fishermen immediately turned and headed south.
Sector watchstanders diverted a Station South Padre Island 33-foot law enforcement boat to pursue the lancha. The aircrew vectored in the law enforcement boatcrew as the fishermen fled toward the border. At 1:20 a.m., the boatcrew stopped the lancha 2 miles north of the border. There were three Mexican nationals aboard the lancha and it was filled with fishing gear and fresh ice.
The lancha was taken in tow to Port Isabel and the three Mexican crewmembers were transferred to Customs and Border Protection for questioning and repatriation back to Mexico.
"Coast Guard crews continue to vigilantly deter illegal poaching within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone," said Lt. Cdr. John Lovejoy, with the 8th District enforcement branch. "This latest interdiction is the 29th seizure of a Mexican lancha this fiscal year."
If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks & Wildlife “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263).
For all suspicious or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the United States Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.
For additional information about the case, please contact Lt.j.g. Margaret Kratz at 361-438-0176.