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Man charged with murder aboard a Virginia-based fishing vessel

A man has been charged with the murder of a crew member aboard a Virginia-based fishing vessel sailing off the coast of Massachusetts.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) — A Mexican national was arrested and charged in federal court for the murder of a crew member aboard a Virginia-based fishing vessel off the coast of Massachusetts.

On Sunday, the fishing vessel, Captain Billy Haver, was sailing about 55 miles off the coast of Massachusetts with seven crew members aboard, including the suspect 27-year-old Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez.

It is alleged that at some point in the afternoon, Vazquez assaulted another crew member on board with a hammer in one hand and a knife in the other. Another crew member was lying on the deck bleeding when Vazquez struck a third crew member.

After the attack, Vazquez climbed up the mast of the ship as the others onboard tried to capture him, according to the charging documents.

The captain of the ship placed a call on the distress channel, to which a German cruise ship responded. The two wounded were taken aboard the cruise ship, and the cruise ship's doctor pronounced the third crew member dead.

The names of the people involved were not released.

Vazquez was charged with one count of murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and one count of attempted murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Vazquez will be subject to deportation after he serves his prison sentence.

According to court documents, Vazquez is illegally in the United States, and this isn't the first time he has been arrested. On March 9, 2018, he was arrested in Newport News, Virginia, for abduction by force, intimidation, or deception, and released on bond.

An ICE spokesman says an immigration judge had granted Vazquez bond despite ICE objections and he was released from custody.

Vazquez's mother-in-law tells WCVB-TV he is a heroin addict and she thinks that was the root of the dispute on the boat.

It's not clear if Vazquez has an attorney.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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