SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Several charter vessels were busted engaging in illegal activities during operation "Reel-It In."
Last week, officers with the Coast Guard, Texas Parks and Wildlife and other agencies checked out 61 vessels operating here in the Coastal Bend.
We’re told there were 20 cases of illegal fishing. the worst included individuals catching and killing green sea turtles.
“The penalties under the Endangered Species Act, they have both civil and criminal penalties,” said Charles Tyer of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement. “And fines are up to $50,000 per violation, or one year in jail or both.”
We're told several citations were given for safety violations and 10 cases are being referred out for federal prosecution.
The purpose of the operation was to make sure all charter vessels are properly licensed and inspected.