Two Indicted For Failing To Stop For Coast Guard
BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A Brownsville federal grand jury has indicted two Mexican fishing boat crewmen for failing to heave to and obstructing boarding, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Rear Admiral Roy Nash, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
The indictment alleges Jose Alejandro Carrillo and Ismael Lopez-Ortiz failed to stop for the Coast Guard as directed. The indictment was returned April 9, 2013, and both are set to make their initial appearance tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan.
“Failing to 'heave to' for an at-sea Coast Guard boarding is a serious offense,” said Nash. “Vessel operators who do not stop and attempt to flee from the Coast Guard put themselves, law enforcement officers and others at great risk. My thanks to our partner agencies for helping ensure that those who violate this law are held responsible for their actions.”
Carrillo, 24, and Lopez-Ortiz, 23, both of Matamoros, Mexico, were arrested by the Coast Guard on March 16, 2013. At that time, they allegedly fled from a Coast Guard vessel that was attempting to detain them for an inspection. Carrillo was the captain of the Mexican fishing boat, while Lopez-Ortiz assisted Carrillo in controlling the boat during the fleeing from the Coast Guard, the indictment alleges.
Both men have been in custody since their arrest.
A conviction for failing to Heave to or obstructing boarding each carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000. Lopez-Ortiz was also indicted on a misdemeanor charge of interfering with a federal agent for which he faces up to a year in prison.
The case was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Leonard is prosecuting.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.