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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mexican Boat Captain Convicted Of Obstructing Boarding

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Jose Alejandro Carrillo, 24, of Matamoros, Mexico, has entered a plea of guilty to obstructing boarding, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Rear Admiral Roy Nash, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

Carrillo was the captain of a Mexican fishing boat, typically referred to as a “launcha,” that fled from a Coast Guard vessel attempting to detain them for an inspection on March 16, 2013. Carrillo had been fishing illegally in U.S. waters and did not want to lose his catch or the launch. A chase on rough open seas ensued, during which Carrillo had another crewmember, Ismael Lopez-Ortiz, assist him in controlling the launcha. During the chase, the launcha twice encountered the Coast Guard vessel. Carrillo finally stopped and allowed the launcha to be boarded and inspected after Carrillo’s crew asked him to stop the flight. 

“Vessel operators who don't stop and attempt to flee from the Coast Guard put themselves and others at great risk,” said Nash. “We'll continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure those who violate this law are held accountable for their actions.”

Castillo will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, set for July 29, 2013, before United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen. At that time, he faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

Lopez-Ortiz, 23, also of Matamoros, was convicted of the misdemeanor charge of interfering with a federal agent.

The case, investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Leonard.  

Updated April 30, 2015