The US Coast Guard seized two Mexican fishing boats (lanchas) in the waters off South Texas, each with three Mexican nationals aboard.
On Friday an Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew on an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter spotted a lancha approximately six miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and 26 miles offshore, setting 500 yards of illegal long line fishing gear.
The helicopter aircrew pursued the lancha south of maritime border while an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew vectored in a Station South Padre Island boatcrew on a 33-foot law enforcement boat to assist with the interdiction.
Later that day Coast Guard watch standers received notification that a lancha was possibly disabled and located approximately 43 miles north of the U.S./Mexico maritime border and 34 miles off the coast of South Padre Island.
Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders immediately launched another MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. The aircrew located the lancha and dropped the rescue swimmer in order to check the condition of the people aboard. After confirming they were okay, a 33-foot law enforcement boat from Station South Padre Island arrived and interdicted the lancha with the three Mexican nationals and illegal fishing gear aboard.
Since Oct. 1, 2014, there have been 24 lanchas interdicted, 176 lancha detections with evidence of illegal fishing, and 38 miles of illegal long line fishing gear recovered. These latest interdictions are part of an ongoing operation known as Operation Sea Serpent, which increases coordination with the Mexican Navy and other U.S. law enforcement agencies for maritime security patrols and enforcement on both sides of the maritime border.