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Press Release

Seabrook man charged with operating illegal charter cruise business

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

GALVESTON, Texas – A 65-year-old has been taken into custody on violation of captain of the port order, making a false statement, obstruction of a proper compliance inspection and forgery of ships papers, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Gordon Johnson is expected to appear for his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison at 11 a.m. tomorrow.   

The indictment was returned Dec. 1, which was unsealed upon his arrest this morning.  

Johnson allegedly operated the MV SPANISH PRINCESS without complying with an order of the highest ranking U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) officer in the Houston-Galveston area. The indictment further alleges he made false statements to USCG personnel in which he claimed not to have paying passengers on his ship and instructed passengers to falsely tell personnel they were not paying passengers. He further forged the signature of the seller of the vessel on a USCG bill of sale, according to the charges. 

If convicted, Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine. He could also be ordered to forfeiture the MV SPANISH PRINCESS. 

“The Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) is firmly committed to partnering with law enforcement agencies to identify and stop those who pose a hazard to the boating public,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian Jeanfreau, CGIS Gulf Region. “Ensuring mariners are fully qualified to safely operate passenger vessels is of upmost importance to the U.S. Coast Guard.”

The CGIS conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam L. Goldman prosecuted the case with assistance from law clerk Kathleen Whitmore.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Updated December 12, 2022