Patterico's Pontifications

10/3/2010

Site Where Mexican Pirates Killed American Citizen Was Target of Mexican Terrorists

Filed under: General,International — Patterico @ 10:12 pm

Earlier today I posted about the murder of an American citizen by Mexican pirates on the Falcon Lake reservoir, which spans the U.S.-Mexican border.

A reader passes along this story from the San Antonio Express-News (originally published in the Houston Chronicle) from June:

An alleged plot by a Mexican drug cartel to blow up a dam along the Texas border — and unleash billions of gallons of water into a region with millions of residents — sent American police, federal agents and local disaster officials scrambling last month to thwart such an attack, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

Whether the cartel, which is known to have stolen bulk quantities of gunpowder and dynamite, could have taken down the five-mile-long Falcon Dam may never be known.

But it may have been derailed by a stepped-up presence by the Mexican military, acting in part on intelligence from the U.S. government, sources said.

As with most cartel violence, this was not ideological in nature, but directed at rival cartels:

The warning was based on what the federal government contends were “serious and reliable sources” and prompted the Homeland Security Department to sound the alarm to first responders all along the South Texas-Mexico border.

Mexico’s Zeta cartel was planning to destroy the dam not to terrorize civilians, but to get back at its rival and former ally, the Gulf cartel, which controls smuggling routes from the reservoir to the Gulf of Mexico, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez and others familiar with the alleged plot said.

Destroying the dam, however, also would have flooded large areas of agricultural land, as well as significant parts of a region with about 4 million border residents in Texas and Mexico.

Another reminder that our issues with Mexico go a little deeper than a few people who want to come here to work and make sure our lettuce is cheap and we don’t have to mow our own lawns.

Mexican Pirates Kill American Citizen

Filed under: General,Immigration — Patterico @ 11:48 am

The San Antonio Express-News recently reported:

Gunmen presumed to be Mexican drug gangsters opened fire Wednesday on a couple riding personal watercraft on the binational Falcon Lake reservoir, striking the husband in the head and chasing his frantic wife into U.S. waters.

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said the McAllen tourists were exploring the area around Old Guerrero, a once-submerged town on the Mexican side of the lake, when they came under a spray of bullets by two boatloads of men.

David Michael Hartley, 30, was shot in the head. His wife, Tiffany Hartley, 29, circled back to pull her husband onto the watercraft, using it as a shield, but the gunmen continued shooting at her, even after she crossed back to the U.S. side, Gonzalez said.

A subsequent story by the Denver Post makes it clear this sort of violence is not isolated:

The trip was ill-advised, [Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo] Gonzalez said, because of a recent spate of robberies by Zetitas, younger members of a regional drug cartel. In April and May, the pirates robbed tourists on the lake, which is the site of nationally televised largemouth bass fishing contests. Falcon Reservoir, created by a dam on the Rio Grande, at times is filled with hundreds of fishing boats.

Gonzalez had been regularly appearing on national news programs in recent months warning people not to cross over to the Mexican side of the lake.

This link lists details of several recent incidents:

Previous pirating incidents

April 30: Four heavily armed men boarded two boats near the Old Guerrero area demanding money. The bandits were given $200 in cash and tried to follow the U.S. boats as they sped back to U.S. waters. The bandits stopped once they reached the U.S. boundary.

May 6: Two armed men approached a boat near Marker 14 on the north side of Salado Island on top of the ruins at Old Guerrero. The men demanded money, which the fishermen gave them.

May 16: Five armed men boarded a boat on the United States side of the lake near Marker 7. Investigators have no further information on the incident.

Aug 31: Falcon Lake pirates, using a small boat marked “Game Wardin” with duct-taped letters to possibly mimic Texas Parks and Wildlife vessels, attempted to stop a Texas fisherman. His knowledge of previous DPS safety warnings about Falcon Lake and the misspelling of the word “Warden” alerted the fisherman that something was wrong and he outran the Mexican vessel to safety.

Source: Texas Department of Public Safety.

Isn’t the federal government supposed to protect us from piracy?

Meanwhile, Mexican mayors are upset that we are sending Mexican criminals back to Mexico:

A coalition of Mexican mayors has asked the United States to stop deporting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes in the U.S. to Mexican border cities, saying the deportations are contributing to Mexican border violence.

I can think of one thing the U.S. should stop sending to Mexico: money. Until they help us control our borders, crack down on their own criminals, and stop whining when we send theirs back.


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