Coast Guard Interdicts Vessel Transporting Narcotics off Southern Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations Corpus Christi crews detected and interdicted a Mexican lancha boat crew suspected of illegally transporting narcotics while in federal waters Tuesday morning off southern Texas, the Eighth Coast Guard District announced in a Dec. 18 release.
One lancha, three subjects and 30 bales of marijuana totaling 1,500 pounds were interdicted in the vicinity of Packery Channel near Port Aransas.
With help from interagency resources, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew from Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi positively identified the lancha, tracked it and vectored in surface assets from Coast Guard Station Port Aransas and CBP Air and Marine Operations. CBP agents successfully interdicted the lancha at 4:15 a.m. The lancha, its occupants and the bales of marijuana were taken to Coast Guard Station Port Aransas for later transfer to appropriate authorities.
“The U.S.-Mexico maritime boundary line continues to be a volatile area with a high amount of illicit activity,” said Cmdr. Keith Pierre, the chief of response at Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “Through coordination with our partners, we successfully detected a lancha north of the maritime boundary line transporting illegal narcotics and prevented it from harming our communities.”
A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20-30 feet long with a slender profile, typically has one outboard motor, and is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 30 mph.
Lanchas are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and fish illegally in the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the U.S.-Mexico border in the Gulf of Mexico.
Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi has detected 139 lanchas, 29 of which were interdicted, that were north of the U.S.-Mexico maritime border in 2017.