CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The U.S. Coast Guard detained a Mexican lancha crew Monday and seized 200 pounds of illegally caught fish.
According to the Coast Guard’s news release the incident occurred in federal waters off South Padre Island.
The Corpus Christi command center received notification from a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew of a lancha engaged in illegal fishing approximately 9 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line.
A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, has one outboard motor, and is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph. They are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and illegally fish in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S./Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
A special purpose craft–law enforcement crew from the SPI Coast Guard Station was launched to intercept the vessel. The boat crew arrived on the scene and seized the lancha with fishing gear, and 200 pounds of Red snapper on board.
Coast Guard crews detained the four fishermen and transferred them to Customs and Border Protection agents for processing, according to the Coast Guard’s news release.
“If left unchecked, illegal fishing undermines the security of our maritime border and drains our nation’s precious resources,” said Lt. Shane Gunderson, commanding officer, Station South Padre Island.