A high-speed police pursuit of three suspects – including a Mexican national – took place on the Gulf of Mexico last week.
U.S. law enforcement officers in Florida chased the trio across the ocean in a 20-hour hunt, which has been likened to a scene from a James Bond movie.
The three suspects – Vidal Farfan-Ramirez, 23, of Mexico, and Raul De La Vega Sauri, 25, of Homestead, Florida and David Llanes Vasquez, 33, of Miami – allegedly stole a 36-foot speedboat from Fort Myers Beach, in Lee Country, Florida.
The hot pursuit of the stolen speedboat by the U.S. Coast Guard and Lee Country Sherriff’s Office eventually ended some 65 miles west of Cuba and 125 miles east of Cancun, Mexico on Christmas Eve reports Fox News Latino.
An action-packed chase
Police officers from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office had been patrolling the area along Fort Myers Beach in order to combat a recent wave of boat thefts when they received a call about the stolen boat.
The officers, aided by the Coast Guard, gave chase to the suspects. Speaking at a press conference, Sheriff Mike Scott told of how the suspects unsuccessfully tried to ram a police boat which was attempting to thwart the theft. “It was like something out of a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie,” he said.
According to local Floridian newspaper, Naples Daily News, the suspects allegedly threw several drums of fuel into the sea and Vasquez is facing charges of reckless pollution. The alleged thieves stopped to refuel on numerous occasions during the chase.
Naples Daily News reports that the police were able to track the boat after contacting the boat’s owner and learning that the vessel, bought for $287,000 in 2014, had a GPS device. The police tracked the suspects’ boat on the internet, dispatching the information to a Coast Guard helicopter.
Police and Coast Guard boats, aided by the helicopter and two aircrafts, pursued the stolen powerboat across the sea.
The three suspects, however, were determined, initially at least, not to be caught.
Speeding across the Gulf of Mexico, the stolen boat travelled some 345 miles, at times reaching speeds of 75 miles per hour.
The men, however, were eventually forced to surrender.
News Press reports that all three looked as though they had been thrashed about quite a bit because of rough waves, which reportedly reached up to 8-foot at times. One of the suspects, Vasquez, had an injured leg.
A member of the Coast Guard, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashley Johnson told Naples Daily News: “The question has been asked, ‘Why didn’t we shoot out the engines?’ We took the most peaceful and the most efficient manner possible, so that’s why the chase went on for 300 miles.” He added: “We were concerned for the safety and welfare of our crews.”
All three were arrested on multiple charges.
Farfan-Ramirez and Sauri are looking at charges of larceny and burglary and are being held on a $1.25 million bail. Vasquez, whose bail has been set for $1.5 million, is facing 19 charges including burglary, assault, fleeing police, and leaving the scene of an accident.
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