October 2nd, 2010
12:50 PM ET

Sheriff: Body of American shot by Mexico pirates still missing

Days after an American man was fatally shot by pirates on a lake that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, his body still has not been found, a sheriff told CNN on Saturday.

Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. of Zapata County, Texas, said U.S. authorities have not made much progress because the incident happened on the Mexican side of Lake Falcon.

“The body was not recovered” by U.S. authorities and is presumably still in the lake, Gonzalez said.

“We’ve been in touch with Mexico authorities but they say they don’t know anything about a body,” Gonzalez said.

Texas Rangers and Texas Parks and Wildlife reconnaissance teams have joined local and state authorities in searching for the body, according to CNN affiliate KSAT in San Antonio, Texas.

The man believed to be fatally shot is David Hartley, 30, according to KSAT. His wife, Tiffany, tried to rescue him but had to flee under fire, KSAT reported.

Tiffany Hartley told law enforcement authorities that the couple were riding personal watercraft in the lake Thursday afternoon when four boats of gunmen approached them and started shooting, according to CNN affiliate KGNS in Laredo, Texas.

"This  couple ventured into these waters deep into Mexico," Gonzalez said. "This gentleman was hit in the back of the head with a bullet.

"The woman was able to escape them," Gonzalez said, by "accelerating as fast as she could." He said the lake is safe on the American side, “just don’t cross into Mexico."

The part of the lake where the incident occurred is technically in the municipality of Guerrero, a city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Gonzalez said. The state has made headlines recently as a hotbed for drug cartel violence.

Gonzalez said that while nothing about the suspects is known, he strongly believes they are pirates linked to drug cartels across the border.

“We have no suspects. None. But the descriptions [of the suspects] would be drug cartel members or the gofers of the drug cartels,” he said.

Gonzalez said this is not the first time there has been trouble on the lake.

“We had some problems in April and May,” he said. “It’s a very, very popular lake for bass-fishing, and what was happening was some people were being robbed.” But this is the first time the incidents have been fatal, he said.

Zapatas County, Texas, is about 50 miles from the Mexican border.

Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Texas, said, "People in this country who don’t live around the border don’t know what’s really going on here."

Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Mexico • Pirates • Texas
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Ed

    "Gonzalez said that while nothing about the suspects is known, he strongly believes they are pirates linked to drug cartels across the border."

    But, just to be safe, we'll call them "pirates" in the headline and throughout the story.

    October 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • camel

      As for people thinking they got shot at a place like your local park. Plus the government has been issuing warnings not to go near mexico (i remember during spring break) that since the drug cartels were at war that you should not go there. Obviously curiosity killed the cat here.

      He told the Post: 'When I asked if she knew how dangerous it was to go to Mexico, she quickly changed the subject.

      The last warning came in May, and some campers on the lake have taken to arming themselves.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ikantraed

      The state dept of your government WARNS you NOT TO GO OUT THERE.... But regardless you take the chance anyways... What the heck for?

      October 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Lets see... People in boats with guns, robbing and killing people....
      Nope, can't imagine why they would call them pirates.....

      October 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob Anders

      TED: I saw your post regarding having to report your guns on tax returns. This would be amusing to me if there were not so many people such as yourself who scream "FIRE" in a crowded room over things such as this that simply do not exist. This hoax has been making the rounds since 2000 to get all the crazies fired up over black helicopters coming for them in the middle of the night. In the future, try to determine if what is and is not real before presenting it as fact. Feel free to check out snopes for yourself:

      http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/taxreturns.asp

      October 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom J

      TED, thats OLD INFO, and NOT TRUE.
      Do your research first, people. Stuff like this makes gun owners look like idiots.
      From the NRA:
      "In the last few weeks, NRA-ILA has received hundreds of e-mails warning us about “SB-2099,” a bill that would supposedly require you to report all your guns on your income tax return every April 15.

      Like many rumors, there’s just a grain of truth to this one. Someone’s recycling an old alert, which wasn’t even very accurate when it was new.

      There actually was a U.S. Senate bill with that number that would have taxed handguns—nine years ago. It was introduced by anti-gun Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and it would have included handguns under the National Firearms Act’s tax and registration scheme. This has nothing to do with anyone’s Form 1040, of course.

      Fortunately, S. 2099 disappeared without any action by the Senate, back when Bill Clinton was still in the White House. We reported about it back then, just as we report about new anti-gun bills every week. Now, it’s time for gun owners to drop this old distraction and focus on the real threats at hand. "

      October 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • pkfops

      Ted- Go to the senate.gov site. There is no such bill. Actually you should go to both the senate & house sites if you want info on legislation. You can view the entire context of a bill and it's current status plus more. Never rely on media or internet blogs on this kind of stuff. The truth is in your own hands.

      October 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      I don't know if you're trying to fake some folks out or your just stupid. That SB-2099 Gun Tax is a hoax and the rating on HR-45 is only "partly true" because even though the referenced bill is real and is technically still before Congress, the bill does not have a single co-sponsor, which makes it unlikely that it will ever brought to a vote before Congress, much less pass. Why don't you try checking the facts before you go off on a frothing-at-the-mouth rant like you did?

      October 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Just like this Rag to call them Pirates. The guy was driving a jet ski. How can anyone be robbed on that. These were just the useless garbage thugs Mexico is crawling with. Garbage not fit to wipe your feet on.

      October 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • oink

      most likely a bogus story she made up

      October 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      A water border can be as dangerous as a land border. Don't Americans understand that?

      October 4, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • darin

      Don't know how this became a debate about gun rights. How about bringing our troops home and using them to "eradicate" the cartels on both sides of the southern border. Don't tell me that our military is not a police force and can't be used on our own soil, these cartels are a clear and present danger to our national security. Why are we ignoring this threat just miles away from millions of Americans>

      October 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Lock down the border to mexico!!! And deny any admissions into the U.S.!!!

      October 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Numbaoneballa

    Another needless death thanks to prohibition. Just like alcohol prohibition and Al Capone but with more money and advanced weaponry. As long as prohibition exists, so will the black market, and so will the cartels. There is only one way to beat the cartels and combat gang activity, legalizing ALL drugs. This isn't to say that drugs are good for you or that people should use them, on the contrary, we should legalize them to gain control o them and keep them from children. Prohibition is the utter lack of control. You essentially gift wrap $400 BILLION and hand it over to organized crime-tax free of course. It's utter lunacy. People have been using mind altering substances for thousands of years, that will NEVER change. What's relatively new and dangerous is the prohibition against private adult behavior. That's what's causing this violence, and anyone who thinks anything else is sadly mistaken and/or brainwashed. A vote for a candidate that supports prohibition is a vote for the cartels and organized crime.

    October 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      Exactly! Legalizing drugs will put away the deficit and stop narcoterroism.

      October 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • EchoBravo

      Welcome to this land, we call it Earth. From what solar system do you hail?

      The notion that legalizing ALL DRUGS will cure the deficit and end narco-terrorism is insanity. Your statements prove that you do not have a grasp on the reality of the situation.

      If you believe legalizing heroin is the right thing to do; you clearly have not seen how heinous a strung out 14 year old looks.

      Please return to your planet immediately.

      October 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apparatus

      @EchoBravo: I have two things to say to you.

      Portuguese drug policy.
      Swiss heroin programs.

      I'll let you figure out the rest. Might be too hard for you though, but keep at it!

      October 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • RBN

      @EchoBravo – We live on planet Earth – where are you from. We have a century of history to show prohibition doesn't work. You might want to educate yourself before opening your mouth about things you learly know nothing about. Criminals love brain dead people like you. You are the kind of people that keep the bad guys in buisness. Legislating morality fails everytime and besides, people killing themselves with drug abuse is merely natural selection and the gene pool is better off without them.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • LR

      People have been killing others for thousands of years. The prisons are overcrowded. Legalize murder! Enough of this prohibition! Legislating morality doesn't work. Keep the government out of our lives!

      October 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • RBN

      @LR – If you don't know the difference between murder and killing yourself, maybe you should give the keyboard back to your mother. Since you're such a fan of prohibition, maybe you should be prohibited from posting lame comments on the internet. Ah, if only legislation worked the way it's supposed to...

      October 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • vic

      Oh, end drug prohibition? yea, that way the cartels can dedicate more time to kidnappings, extortion, home invasions, pipeline tapping and any other criminal way can come up with to make their money.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • 411monk

      One reason legalizing is still a distant reality is the amount of money that goes into fighting the war on drugs. There is too much "legal" money to be made in the fight against the "illegal" drug trade. No politician will touch a "hot button" and risk losing the pork barrel. It's a high risk no gain proposition for a government official.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • RBN

      @vic – Stay in your house, because it's dangerous outside. Oh but the home invaders will get you anyway! There's an abundance of ignorance parading as reason. I'll try to make it simple enough for even you to understand. When you create violent black markets as direct result of enacting prohibition, you've obviously failed the public. If the majority of the public agreed with the prohibition, these massive, extremely lucrative black markets wouldn't exist. Even though the majority of the public doesn't want the prohibition, the government will fight tooth and nail to keep it. Why? Because they get a ton of money from the tobacco and alcohol industries to keep their recreational drugs the only legals ones. And they're not about to give up a twenty billion dollar budget. Instead of following the other sheep, how about using your head for something besides a hat rack. Look at the facts and make an informed decision. Just make sure you look at all of the fact and not just the ones that fit your predetermined answer.

      October 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikola

      I am somewhat surprised that someone would take your position of support for the legalization of drugs. While we know there are a large number of people who would support the idea of legalized drugs, creating justification for it by comparing it to prohibition is disregarding the damage that is being done by alcohol in our country today. Drunk drivers and all of their victims represent a great deal of damage to the people of our country. It appears as though that is acceptable and that drugs would simply be a different option of the same thing. People who lose control over themselves and hurt others or themselves should have the right to be able to continue to do that. You're thinking that by legalizing drugs we would somehow end the crime. That is remarkable. It might be helpful for you to take a visit to Europe. I would suggest you consider Switzerland, the Netherlands or Portugal. You may want to consider what their liberalized programs have done for their people. At one point they were pressing for reduced restrictions on drugs because they wanted to give their people the freedom to choose. Now they have that freedom and you should consider what that freedom has done to the people. I suppose if there was a way to guarantee that only those people who used drugs would suffer the consequences of that use, then it might be something to consider. But since we have learned from the legalization of alcohol, it is not just the user who suffers all. Everyone around the user will suffer as well. Society as a group may at times have to curtail the freedom of individuals for the sake of the community. That may sound communistic, but my meaning is that we may have to give up some things so that our society can continue to exist. Alcohol is hurting us every day. The legalization of drugs will simply augment that problem. At some point we will have to make a stand.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      legalizing drugs may or may not balance the budget, end crime, terrorism or war, but when your high, who cares!

      October 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Agreed, Numbaoneballa. The fact is that if we were to legalize the drug trade, almost all of these incidents would disappear. We apparently didn't learn from alcohol prohibition very well, that trying to dictate to people what they put into their own bodies simply DOES NOT WORK!

      October 4, 2010 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. H

    Yarrrr there be no body 'cause ye scallywags be walkin the plank arrrrr

    October 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate from Canada

      How ignorant does a person have to be to think there is anything funny about this?

      October 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • ay yi yi

      Hey Kate, would you like some cheese with that whine? You must be from Toronto.

      October 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pirate Monkey

      always blaming us pirates arrrrrrrrrrr
      the wife did it

      How much does it cost for a pirate to pierce his ears?
      A buck an ear!!! Aaaarrrrrr!!

      October 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TexasHoss

    I think they are using the word pirate because it happened on the lake and pirates kill on the waters around the world.

    October 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pkfops

    They knew the risk. No story here.

    October 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jdog

      You sir or maam are an idiot. Please off yourself.

      October 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • pkfops

      The border is clearly marked. They knew the risk.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • camel

      i agree i wouldnt go anywhere near a dangerous border be it land or sea. Might be a jet ski in water but your in mexico now. Like the article said its just people dont know about the dangers of the area (like the majority of americans) Before i venture out into foreign territory i treat it as entering the hood and watch my back the whole time

      October 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • camel

      From police questioning her which shows they obviously knew the risks

      He told the Post: 'When I asked if she knew how dangerous it was to go to Mexico, she quickly changed the subject.

      'I didn't pursue it. I didn't want her to feel guilty.'

      October 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      I'd respond but there is no point arguing with idiots. They usually just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • pkfops

      Should have just booked a resort; much safer.

      Problems at this lake have been well publicized.

      Crossing an international border at anyplace other than a controlled POE is risky business.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whatnow

      Fuk Mexico! Nuke the idiots!

      October 3, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. IndieNYC

    Sounds like an easy drug transfer route...I mean really..,use a power boat across the lake....US should have nipped this situation in the bud much earlier....

    October 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      Before you make a statement like that, Google a map of the Falcon Lake Resevoir in Texas. That's more than 20 miles of irregular shoreline from Zapata down to Falcon. Good luck with effectively patrolling that without a small Navy.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Slim

    Shoot your husband in the head and then blame it on pirates?

    October 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • slw32

      Just what I was thinking.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agree

      Easy way to get away with it, and who's going to go searching for a gun at the bottom of a lake in mexico that is overrun with members of the drug cartels?

      October 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becca

      I can agree as I was thinking the same thing here when I had read this maybe she had something to do with this. As she got away. That sounds real fishy to me as I guess some one else can agree with my thoughts here. GOOD POINT HERE SLIM!

      October 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpr

      no kidding.

      October 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cruella800

      I agree, The mother & the wife were on the Today show on 10/11/10. The mother was crying all over the place, the wife has a sad face on.. not one single interview I have seen her do... has she shed one tear. If she really suffered all that " trauma" and saw her husband murdered, she would be more visably torn up. I dont buy it for a second.

      October 11, 2010 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. rusty

    Oh my!! What did we do to offend those poor pirates????

    October 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wes

    NUMBAONEBALLA is an example of someone who is using his/her head for what it was designed for. To add to those comments, by legalizing, it takes the desire of young people to use in rebellion. When young people understand that the government officials are liers who are just pushing their agendas like was the case in the Vietnam era, so they come to disbelieve them, as a society, we develop the drug problems like we now have. Example: if pots not evil, meth is ok, too. We must start using our brains. Our children are too valuable to be dishonest with.

    October 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      Do yourself and everyone here a favor and, before you decide to post again, please enroll in a course in Logic or Complex Thinking Skills & Reasoning at a nearby college or university. You would obviously benefit from it.

      October 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • WhatTheEff

      @Wes – "by legalizing, it takes the desire of young people to use in rebellion." Were you high when you wrote this? Where are you pulling your facts from? Please quote your studies/sources as I am really curious!

      If drugs are legalized, what will the reasons for young people to use them be, now that they won't have any desire to use them "in rebellion?"

      You are a purveyor of convoluted assumptions.

      October 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • grant

      Who's got two thumbs and is a complete idiot? ....Thisguy.

      October 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Contrary to what some on here have said Amerstdam did not legalize drugs. They only tolerate marijuana in public coffee shops. The logic is that that would seperate 'light' drug users like marijuana smokers from 'hard' drug users like heroin addicts. Does that not make any sense to anybody here?

      October 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kerry

    Legalize drugs? Because heroin and crack are things that can be used recreationally by anyone. They're not Highly addictive, they wouldn't cause more domestic violence, auto accidents. People would be responsible with their use. Yeah its a friggin genius idea.

    October 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • yacker01

      I vote for a nutty idea. I was taught this would be a good example of faulty logic.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Paden

    Thank the people that insist on keeping the boarder open.
    Votes for lives.

    October 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • brad

      yes, considering the couple illegally entered Mexico.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ABDELKADER HAMDAOUI

    Things are getting progressively worse and this is only a relatively minor incident. The big picture isn't drug trafficking, it's human smuggling into the U.S. to invade, occupy and reclaim with fifth columnists (A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within, to help an external enemy) the erstwhile Mexican territories of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and in the process turn all of North America Hispanic. Perish the thought! Too fearful to contemplate, that's why the politicians are burying their heads in the sand.

    October 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    What if that woman actually killed her husband? Hmmmmmm.

    October 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • 411monk

      That's a very nice stone you've turned over. Since there isn't very much known in this story, I'll add to your conspiracy. What if he's not even dead.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rd

      I'm right there with you Joe. This sounds very fishy to me too. Wouldn't suprise me if they were having maritial problems.

      October 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Help Here

    Hey Guys, will you visit SaveStan.ORG a friend of mine with 4 young babies is fighting for his life.....Thanks

    October 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mexico is a h3llhole

    I think we should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and clean up the mess in our back yard. How would the drug cartels like 200,000 US troops shooting straigt up their brown asses?

    October 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
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