Falcon Lake 'pirate' shooting: Where's missing boater David Hartley?
Nearly a week after Mexican pirates allegedly shot and killed David Hartley on Falcon Lake, Texas, his body has still not been found. What might be causing the delay?
The Mexican government on Wednesday stepped up a search on Falcon Lake – 60 miles long and straddling the US-Mexico border – for a missing US boater, presumed shot and killed by Mexican pirates nearly a week ago.Skip to next paragraph
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The halting attempt by the US and Mexico to find the body of David Hartley and establish security on the deceptively placid lake highlights the degree to which cross-border communications and trust have broken down since the start of the Mexico drug war in 2006, says Texas state legislator Aaron Pena.
The result is that an issue that once might have been handled between local officials from Texas and the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas has now escalated into an international incident demanding the involvement of the Obama administration.
Border security "will be much more successful if both sides are working toward the same goal," says Peter DeShazo, director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
That is often no longer the case, mostly because Mexican officials who had good relations with local government and law enforcement in Texas have been forced to flee from the drug war that has claimed more than 26,000 Mexicans in the past four years, says Mr. Pena, the Texas lawmaker.
"The leaders of border communities on the Mexican side now live on our side," says Pena, who met with local and state law-enforcement officials at the lake on Wednesday. "Plus the cartels have infiltrated many aspects of government on the border, they've infiltrated law enforcement, so you don't know who to trust anymore."
The incident began last Thursday afternoon when presumed Mexican pirates, already implicated earlier this year for robbing US bass boaters who had crossed over to the Mexican side, began shooting at Mr. Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, who had gone six miles into Mexico to visit the ruins of a submerged church.
Ms. Hartley says that when her husband was shot, she doubled back to try to fetch him, but had to abandon the rescue effort in order to escape. One eyewitness saw a boat matching Ms. Hartley's description of the boat used in the alleged attack chasing her deep into US waters. A memorial service for Mr. Hartley was held Tuesday.
Mexico: No formal complaint
Amid pleas from the family and wife of Mr. Hartley, the US has put pressure on Mexican authorities, some of whom have publicly doubted the veracity of Ms. Hartley's story. Mr. Hartley's father, Dennis Hartley, told the Associated Press, "I don't think at this time ... Mexico is really doing anything."