Multiple Agencies Thwart Major Drug Shipment on South Padre Island
Oct. 14, 2016
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AUSTIN – Texas Game Wardens, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security, helped intercept a drug shipment along a popular stretch of surf on South Padre Island early Thursday morning, seizing 730 pounds of marijuana and arresting six individuals on drug trafficking charges.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 13, game wardens assigned to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Marine Tactical Operations Group received notification that a vessel was traveling northbound from Mexico and made landfall on South Padre Island. The team immediately responded to the call and located a vehicle parked in the surf near the hotel district of South Padre Island. The vehicle was backed up to the water with a vessel known as a “lancha” behind it in the surf.
The lancha fled the scene and the driver of the vehicle was immediately taken into custody. Game wardens and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents with the Office of Air Marine seized 17 bundles of marijuana from the vehicle and the surrounding beach area.
Agents with the Office of Air Marine then pursued the southbound lancha until it capsized approximately 4 miles south of the landing location. Five individuals aboard the lancha were taken into custody, while the vessel and additional bundles of marijuana were recovered and seized along with the vehicle.
“The illegal trafficking of narcotics will not be tolerated in the state of Texas and activities like this that are blatantly conducted in areas frequented by sportsmen and tourists will be dealt with immediately,” said COL Game Warden Craig Hunter, TPWD Director of Law Enforcement. “Thanks to the strong relationship of cooperation that the Texas law enforcement community has with our federal partners, we are able continue our interdiction of illegal activity up and down the coast and along Texas’ international border.”
Agencies assisting with the interdiction, transportation, recovery of narcotics and apprehension of subjects were: the United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Air Marine, Homeland Security Investigations, South Padre Island Police Department, United States Coast Guard SPI Station, Cameron County Park Police and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens.