Trio in Boat Stolen from Fort Myers Led Coast Guard on 20-hour Chase

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk. Coast Guard photo
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk. Coast Guard photo

The three men who led the U.S. Coast Guard on a 345-mile boat chase through the Gulf of Mexico and nearly to Cuba were brought back to Lee County this weekend.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard held a news conference Sunday morning with details of the arrest of the three boating theft suspects.

the Lee County Sheriff's Office website showed that David Llanes Vasquez, 33, of Miami, was booked in jail on Sunday on 19 charges, including grand larceny, fleeing and eluding police on a boat, burglary and assault.

Raul de la Vega-Sauri, 25, of Homestead, and Vidal Ramirez-Farfan, of Mexico, were also booked into the Lee County jail and charged with burglary and grand larceny, according to the website.

It all started in the early morning hours of Dec. 24, when the Lee County Sheriff's Office was conducting overnight patrols targeting boat thieves.

Around 2 a.m., the sheriff's office received a call about a boat theft on Old Pelican Bay Drive in Fort Myers Beach. The suspects, who allegedly stole a 36-foot Invincible boat, fled after trying to ram into a Sheriff's Office boat, according to the LCSO website.

Deputies pursued the boat, which had three, 300-hp engines and was capable of speeds up to 75 miles per hour, for five miles into the Gulf of Mexico before the suspects outran them.

The Coast Guard joined the pursuit and eventually had three aircraft, a small boat from Station Fort Myers Beach and the Cutter Williams Trump chasing the Invincible as it tried to speed away. The suspects led the Coast Guard on a 20-hour chase that ended when the Coast Guard caught up with and arrested the trio -- about 70 miles from Cuba.

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