Earlier in the week investigators stated that they thought David and Tiffany had been fired on by members of the Zetas drug cartel. Authorities now say that the men in speedboats may have fired upon David Hartley because they thought he was a member of a rival Gulf Coast cartel.
Church on a known battleground
According to a statement made today to the press from investigators the area of the sunken church is a known battleground between Los Zetas and Gulf drug cartels. Since the Hartley’s had a truck with Tamaulipas state license plates and from the direction they had been driving it could have been a case of the enforcers mistaking them for rivals.
So far investigators have not been able to find David Hartley’s body and his jet ski has not been found. Tiffany Hartley stated she attempted to go back and rescue David but came under fire herself. At first, authorities were suspicious of her story and then they too came under fire while investigating and further evidence that supported her story emerged.
Just this week the lead investigator, Rolando Armando Flores Villegas, on the Mexican side of the border was murdered after spending the day searching for Hartley’s body on the lake. His severed head was delivered to a military base in a suitcase as a warning.
The Falcon Lake is a reservoir that was created after a damn was put on to the Rio Grande. It straddles the U.S./Mexican border. There is little to let boaters and lake users know that they have crossed over from one country to the other besides posts placed in the water. Much of the border areas between Texas and Mexico have become scenes of warfare between rival drug cartels in recent years.
Officials today said that attacks against American tourists are very rare. However, there have been incidents in the past of mistaken identity.