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Justice News

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mexican Boat Captain Sentenced To Federal Prison After Fleeing From Coast Guard

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Jose Alejandro Carrillo, 24, of Matamoros, Mexico, has been ordered to prison following his conviction of obstructing boarding, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Rear Admiral Kevin S. Cook, Eighth Coast Guard District Commander. Castillo, who has been in custody since his arrest, pleaded guilty on April 24, 2013.

Today, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen sentenced Carrillo to 15 months in prison. 

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 launcha. 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 made contact 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. 

"When vessel operators fail to stop and attempt to flee the Coast Guard, they put themselves and others at great risk," said Cook. "The Coast Guard hopes that this sentence serves as a deterrent to other operators in similar situations. We appreciate and commend the efforts of the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard Investigative Service for bringing this case forward." 

Carrillo will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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

Updated April 30, 2015