Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Falcon Lake Killing Blamed on Blunder

By Lynn Brezosky -
San Antonio Express-News
Members of the Mexican military search for David Hartley's body in Falcon Lake.

BROWNSVILLE — A global intelligence company Wednesday said the death of U.S. citizen David Michael Hartley on Falcon Lake was a case of mistaken identity in a turf war between rival drug cartels.

Hartley, who was shot during a Sept. 30 sightseeing trip to the Mexican side of the binational reservoir, was shot by Zeta cartel enforcers because he was mistaken for a spy of the rival Gulf Cartel, according to the report by STRATFOR, and Austin-based think tank specializing in intelligence and international issues.

The report goes on to say Hartley's body likely was destroyed as Los Zetas went into “damage control” mode and that the lower-level operatives responsible for the unauthorized strike against him now are on the Zetas' hit list.

“The cartel boss — Miguel Treviño — is highly upset over the fact that these individuals shot and killed Mr. Hartley and it's our understanding that the cartel boss is hunting for the killers of Mr. Hartley so he can take care of them himself,” said Fred Burton, STRATFOR's vice president of intelligence.

Burton, who doesn't cite his sources, goes on to say the beheading Tuesday of Rolando Armando Flores Villegas, the lead Mexican investigator in the case, was a stern signal to both the United States and Mexico that no body will be produced and to leave the situation alone.

Hartley's wife, Tiffany, has said the two were ambushed while taking pictures of a submerged Mexican town.

She said she raced to U.S. shores without her husband after a futile attempt to lift his body, the gunfire trailing her well across the U.S. line.

The case has drawn international attention, with Tiffany Hartley and her family appearing on various news shows defending her story of lake pirates and pleading for action amid a drug war that has Mexican officials paralyzed by fear.

Her mother, Cynthia Young, said the family had seen the STRATFOR report but had no comment yet on its findings.

“It hasn't been confirmed through the investigative officers here,” she said. “But we're still standing and believing for a miracle that we will get David back in some fashion and that's the way God wants it. But he's in charge.”

She said officials at the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, Mexico, had assured them Flores' decapitation wouldn't stop the search.

Burton is the author of two books: “Mexico in Crisis: Lost Borders and the Struggle for Regional Status” and “GHOST: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent.”

A former special agent in counterterroism for the U.S. State Department, he was appointed in 2007 by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the Border Security Council. He served briefly as the assistant director for intelligence and counterterrorism for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

His report concludes “halcones,” or Zeta scouts, noticed Mexican tags on the trailer towing the Hartley's personal watercraft, mistook them as spies for the rival Gulf Cartel and sent radio messages buzzing across the lake.

The couple had lived in Reynosa, Mexico, where Hartley worked for an Alberta-based oil company.

“Once Hartley was identified as an American, his body was destroyed the same day as the incident to prevent a backlash from the U.S. government against the group,” the report states.

As for the attackers, “a damage control campaign currently is under way — led by Los Zetas' No. 2, Miguel “Z-40” Treviño Morales — to identify and eliminate those who engaged the Hartleys.”

Treviño Morales is named in federal court documents as the No. 2 Zeta. He's wanted by Laredo police in five slayings they say he ordered in the U.S. during 2005 and 2006. He's also wanted in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges.

The U.S. State Department is offering $5 million and the Mexican government is offering 30 million pesos, about $2.4 million, for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

U.S. Coast Guard patrol on Falcon Lake

The death of the Mexican investigator in the case, meanwhile, produced an outcry Wednesday from several U.S. officials, most calling on the U.S. to get more active.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said Flores had a reputation for cooperation and camaraderie with law enforcement counterparts in Texas.

Cuellar's brother, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, brokered a meeting last week with the Hartley family and investigators, including Flores.

“Commandante Flores and many of his peers had continued to search for David Hartley in the face of grave threats and imminent danger,” Rep. Cuellar said in a statement. “This tragic incident demonstrates the continued efforts of the Mexican law enforcement community to help us in America solve the Hartley case.”

He said the case underscores the need for the Mérida Initiative, an infusion of resources he supported to help Latin American nations fight the drug war.

But Republican politicians including Perry and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn say the incident instead should be seen as a failure of the Obama administration to secure the nation's southern border.

U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, accused the State Department of moving slowly in the investigation that has emboldened the narcotics cartels that he likened to terrorist groups.

Poe, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the United States would not be intimidated by the Zetas or other cartels.

“If anything, the United States ought to give more resources to this investigation,” he said.


  1. If the mexican govt has lost control of the región to the point where the state officials have fear to investigate, then why shouldnt the u.s. Go in and secure the area? Its not like the mexican govt will Ever Find out, since they are not there anyway. The only reason that mexican politicians do not ask for help is because there extreme levels of embezzlement of Public funds Will be exposed to the world. Look at the allegatons against moreira! The greed of the PRI will be its downfall! But how long will it take!!? Its treason! Death penalty for traitors!!!

  2. Im sure you have this proof against Moreira?
    and youre going to show this proof at a world court?
    otherwise, youre just one more ignorant Rant Baiter. or a Culero or Both

  3. This story is tragic, but having lived in Reynosa, and being familiar with the area, these people were idiots to have jet-skied into Mexico.

  4. I posted "Well I guess this will lower the fingers being pointed at the wife" yesterday after reading about the beheading. I suppose I was neglecting the idea that she had somehow orchestrated the whole thing to begin with. It's possible; it just doesn't seem likely to me.

    As for the Zetas... Getting rid of the body doesn't save you from investigation. It upsets more people in the U.S. as well as the idea that they think they can get away with murdering a man who is investigating a case for the US. Clearly they misunderstand how we work over here. Keep it up guys and kill a few more Americans. If that's what it takes to get us over there to help out innocent Mexican civilians then it needs to happen asap.

    Their days are numbered.

  5. “But we're still standing and believing for a miracle that we will get David back in some fashion and that's the way God wants it. But he's in charge.”

    OK then, nothing to worry about. Right?

  6. But Republican politicians including Perry and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn say the incident instead should be seen as a failure of the Obama administration to secure the nation's southern border.

    this has to be the stupidest thing ever. How can you blame Obama for the fact that this incident happen in Mexico. By Mexican drug cartels. This has nothing to do with border security. It has to do with a bunch of narco-terrorists that shoot first and ask questions later.

  7. It has nothing to do with it, esp. since they were on the Mexican side, but sleazy poluticains will try to spin this story into something they can use.

    My two points: def. buy this explanation, documented Zeta activity at the lake, Reynosa plates on the couple, probably thought they were CDG, but the woman was blonde though, and looks white, so who knows?

    2. Why would they be jet skiing in the Mexican side, were they unaware of the number of incidents in that lake this year alone? They lived in Reynosa, but are unaware of the war? Typical American mistakes, I have to say, with respect to the dead, and the wife.

  8. How could she stop and try to pull her husbands body on to her jet ski if 3 boats were chasing her and shooting at her??? Sounds like Sarah Palin with her stupid GOD was protecting her story...Imagine 3 boats with guns and she has time to stop and try to get her husbands body on an unstable jet BS.....

  9. Poor Mexico, what its become.

  10. Stay out of Mexico, let them kill each other!!!!!!!!!

  11. @October 14, 2010 1:55 PM

    Don't call them idiots?? As an American living in Mexico as they did, there is no fucking way that these people didn't know how dangerous it is here right now. They were playing where they shouldn't have been playing, knowing full well what the consequences could be.
    These 2 were fucking IDIOTS!!!!

  12. Makes some sense. Stupid sicarios doing stupid tourists. An American down and the sicarios are in hiding since they f**d up. Man, they really fire bad employees in Mexico, won't they?
    Now, I fell deeply sorry for Rolando Flores. He was a cop who wanted to help. He got in a mess that was not of his doing and he died of it. I'm praying for you Rolando.

  13. Why wasnt Miguel Treviño upset when his num nuts slaughtered the 72 south american immigrants. he could care less they just say that so the us can back off,

  14. yeah i agree, they are idiots. they left reynosa becuase of the dangers so they knew about the dangers of falcon lake. they remind me of the idiots who went to iran to go mountain climbing and ended up getting imprisoned by the iranian government. except this time it cost a man his life. plus that picture of the church standing over the water looks creepy. i sure would'nt go there...unless i wanted to smuggle drugs in a backpack using jet skis.

  15. what's more creepy is that they were riding on these jet skis on this quiet lake and the whole time they were being WATCHED by ZETAS. that tells me that they had probably kept going back to that lake. mexico is no longer a playground. another thing that has me suspicious is, have you seen this girl getting interviewed? she's kinda strange to me. she has a cold disposition. almost like she is'nt phased by all of this. and she's popping up all over the place giving numerous interviews. these guys were low level thugs but they end up disposing the body and jet ski? im still very skeptical.

  16. Mexico is NOT ONLY dangerous country in the world. Immigrants and tourists still go to Mexico, as well as other countries across the world. Everybody living in the countries have low and high risks in related to war, economic crisis, anything else that affect us. Life is not fair. God sends us to live on the earth, no matter how long we live, because everybody dies anyway.

  17. To j @ 10-14 10:32am

    I wrote that comment about that politician blaming President Obama. Now for the record I like Obama, i don't agree with some of his policies, but I like him. Now like you said it's unfortunate that some ignorant sleazy politician is twisting and using this family's tragedy to bash Obama. Now it's true like you said, if they live in the area and are aware of the daily ongoing gunbattles, why risk it. Now at the same time, if the mexican population cant live their lives in fear and stop doing things out of fear. I mean president calderon himself has reassured mexico that only those involved in illicit business need to worry.

    And i don't agree with violence to resolve violence, but I really do hope that the Z leader hunts down the shooters responsile and makes an example out of them. maybe then other sicarios that work for the Zs will think twice before they pull the trigger on innocent civilians.

    I dont think that they were idiots, i see it as a couple that decide they werent gonna be bullied and reduced to living in fear, and went about their lives, but just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I mean look at those civilians that were shot at that shopping center as they went about their own business, are they idiots for going out to do day-to-day business. The victims from all those granades that have been thrown into crowds, are they also idiots? They lived in the same area and were aware of the same war. They're not idiots, they citizens that foolishly believed the mexican goverment that only those involved with the cartels are getting kille.

    All in all my deepest sympathies for the wife and their families, and the families of all the innocent men, women and children that have fallen victims to these cowards, that think they're above the law just because they walk around toting their guns.

    Maybe some good will come out of this tragedy and the dam mexican and us goverment will wake up and realize that THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP. AND IT HAS TO STOP NOW!!!! HOW MANY MORE CASKETS, HOW MANY MORE INOCCENT CHILDREN AND WOMEN NEED TO BE GUNNED DOWN, BEFORE SOMEBODY PUTS AN END TO THIS BULLSHIT "WAR"?????

  18. you know that felipe calderon is lying on his bed saying to his wife, " what the !@#$% were these american idiots thinking of?? i would'nt even go there myself."... mexican people who are given the unlucky position of living in mexico by birth, have no other choice. but these americans were definitely playing with fire. they were testing the waters... no pun intended. but you're right, my deepest condolences do go out to this couple and their family. no one deserves to go through such a violent act. it was so unnecessary.

  19. It is still being reported that her story has been very inconsistant and troubling. I am telling you she the wife is not telling the entire truth...there is more to her sotry.

    she needs to agree to the poly

  20. @J

    " but the woman was blonde though, and looks white, so who knows?"

    I thought you knew Mx! JAJA..many Mx girls "look white" and are light skinned, light hair. Men also. Especially in Coahuila. Color means nothing.

  21. Today Mx officals investagating this said "there are no suspects" que paso with the bros? The ones whose names and Pic were plastered around the world?

    Just maybe they or the Zs did not like the chief bringing such attention to them...and maybe because they did not actually do the crime, if there is a crime, and if there is a dead person, and maybe they thought they would make him pay for that action...and maybe, just maybe that is why they beheaded him....because NOW MX IS SAYING THERE ARE NO SUSPECTS..directly after the beheading...

    but maybe it is just an amazing coincidence

  22. Mexico never released the names of the two brothers. Supposedly the investigator gave the names, in confidence and off the books, to the American investigators.

    The names did run in many Mexican medias, but quoting U.S. medias. Mexican medias continued running only that the incident is being investigated.

  23. Regarding the "blond haired white girl" comment made, Abuela is exactly right.

    There are many blonds and even "carrot tops" with fair skin, fine features and blue or green eyes in Mexico.

    Remember Mexico was a European colony first and also during the Mexico-France war, many French and Austrian soldiers "left their mark" in Mexico.

  24. OK...back to the lake..
    Here is an intelligent analysis of the Hartley is posted on the righ on BB but here again...i did not know they were spending lots of $$ recently

    yep! many shades of Mx we are. My grandfather and his entire spanish fam were blue-eyed, in my fam of 32 first cousins we represent every shade hair/skin/eyes. I laughed at the carrot top comment as I have a set of twin cousins full blood Mx with red hair and green eyes.

  25. to all the people that are calling them idiots fuck you seriously you are just as guilty as the fucks who pulled the trigger you fucking heartless sons of bitches

  26. Perry, Cornyn and Burton are all full of shit. Consider that these punks like to run dope across the lake at night, a jet ski is low profile and fast and you could haul dope on one. Perry has done little except talk smack where the border is concerned. If he was really serious he would be in DC screaming at the top of his lungs for somebody to take swift action....but no, he wants the latino vote in Texas! Perry's opponent (a democrat) actually sounds tougher than Perry on border issues! Burton is also full of shit, his notion tht the body was "destroyed" is an attempt to take pressure off of Perry and finding the body...whitewash! I give things about 6 months to escalate to Texans taking up arms to defend themselves since the state nor federal government refuses to take any action, other than talking smack or spewing rhetoric. L.A., NYC and Chicago may all have higher murder rates but they are not associated with organised gangs armed with miltary weapons and beheading people as a common practice...if that were happening in those US cities their would be swift action. What is the US government waiting for, a total collapse of Mexico, thousands more dead? The irony is we cannot go to Mexico but we allow our border to remain wide open to the bad guys. If 11 mayors were murdered in the US at the hands of armed gangs all hell would break loose. Fact is it might as well be here in the Us seeing as how the border remains open and they are allowed to cross over daily.

  27. you know what really pisses me off!! that this lil gringa is getting all the media attention but a freakin mexican-americans who have been killed get none whatsoever or the 28,000 mexicans that have been killed what about them? So does race have to do with this story??? you bet your ass it is...also they should stop wasting time bz everyone knows if this really happen there not gonna find the body guerita but just maybe you learned your lesson the hard way, not to cross the border!! Sorry but its true.

  28. @2:07

    Don't be sorry I thought the same damn thing. I was pissed when my country bullied Mx into using their limited resources to stage this gigantic search and investigation, while the ïnvestigations involving Mexicans goes down the shitter before the body is buried. all this media attention for thata?? and little blips here and there of filtered narco news and the violence Mexicans are subjected to. THATS the real story, or should be.

    Logic tells me that all border states will use a case like this to draw attention to the border problem, so I do not put much credibility in their( Perry etc) "judgement". I am sticking to the notion this couple had some kind of involment. Her story changes too much, as my pop used to say, "stick to the truth and you won't have to have a good memory". They lived in Reynosa for 2 years they knew the dangers, so if innocent of drug involvement why take a chance? pretty dumb move.. Sure they had the right to go to Falcon Lake, but a foolish decision, and one I would not make. When she takes a poly, which she says there is no need, and passes with flying colors, then I will change my mind. I wish she would...

  29. guys, settle down.

    The Hartleys obtained permission to cross over to view Old Guerrero. They did it legally. Also, Old Guerrero is a known tourist spot, a very popular one. I've been there and so have many of my friends. People have been going there for years. If it was a mistaken identity on part of the Zetas, I call it BS because they know it's a tourist spot and seeing Jet Skis in that area is very common, even small boats/etc travel over there weekly. And, yes, we do give media attention to Hispanics that are killed on the border...but think about it...99% of the people killed are a Gringo comes along and it's unique because it's not a common occurance. The overwhelming majority of the people that watch the news in this country are WHITE. People like to associate with other people like them.

  30. @October 16, 2010 8:57 PM

    So what are you trying to say that because he was an idiot getting killed crossing the border. Even tho its a known fact that its dangerous and hes white he deserves more media attention bz its unique, now that BS!!! it doesn't matter if the majority of the ppl could be asian, black or brown it still doesn't make it right some get more attention then others, they should all get the same attention and be solved and brought to justice. You know what, its stupid remarks like yours that make want more white people dead so they know what hispanics go through.

  31. NO, I am not saying that. When was the last time innocent Americans of any color was shot and killed while riding a jet ski running from the Mexican cartel after doing some sight seeing? I've lived down here for over 20+ years and I can't think of anything like this incident in recent memory. That makes this case unique. Also, the fact that "pirates" are roaming this lake makes it an interesting story in this day and age. Most of the people that create and watch the news are white, so its understandable that they would put a lot of attention into this story. I don't see what your problem is. I'm Hispanic too, btw.

  32. have any of you pendeos calling the cpuple idiots ever been to falcon lake is deceptively calm and by your standard ..ANYONE WHO VISITS MEXICO IS AN IDIOT?...that makes me think you are the idiot...and as always some la raza culero has to interject some rascist bullshit into the discussion...and that makes me KNOW that you are an idiot

  33. lito Brito:

    I agree. and a person has the right to go to Falcon Lake. My Q is why is no one there? The US delcares it unsafe, but then does not patrol?!? The gov are the idiots in this case.
    However, It was not wise to go there knowing the problems and seeing it was deserted. Verdad? and especially this couple, they had lived in Mx on the border for 2 yrs..they should have known whats up. but I would not called them idiots, foolish yes..
    for the record 1/3 of all Mx states has a murder per cap rate of 1.7, another 1/3 @5
    and the other third is the worse in the world

    that means 2/3 of all Mx states have the same or much lower murder rate than the US
    United States is 5

  34. about shittin in you own nest...these stupid Z pinche madres have got the fukn coast guard on falcon lake now... that is gonna make expenses go up to transport...all for a stolen jet ski...i bet the boys down the river are really pissed now..the last thing they want is attention from the cops...especially outside cops, like , you know ones who aren't part of the extended family along the river...they like to have the birdwatchers and every thing going along tranquillo...boy some idiota culeros are gonna pay for this one...hope that jet ski don't feel too bad as it's nose is being put into some pendejos the stupid Z has succeeded in drawing the attention of the American public...guess what is next?...yeap , you guessed it ...more police/ army on the you stupid cabezas de mierda just need to kill some American police y soldiers...then guess what will come next for you....better hold that statue of santa muerta close now...ohh i think the girls story has more truth

  35. YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY PISSES ME OFF...RACIST ASSHOLES ...who think it is funny if someone is killed because they are a guerita...THAT REALLY PISSES ME OFF..

  36. Supposedly Tiffany has given a new testimony with "valuable information" to authorities at the consulate in McAllen Texas.

    now she claims he was shot in the neck: head, neck, it's all connected.

    Question: why the hell did she hold onto to this new "valuable" information for 16 days?

  37. I am not sure about the neck thing..but I guess that is what Mexico City report said. if so..
    this is her story
    first: one in back of head
    second: two shots back of head brain matter spilling
    third: two in front (shouldn't it be going away?"
    fourth: in Neck

    and now her comment...
    jesus that was fast!!

    SYlvia Longmire has a great analysis
    and there is this

  38. Nice link Buela!

    I'm still not feeling good about this story, at all.

    Where the hell is all this new information of her's coming from, why now? Didn't she think it was important on Sept. 30 or October 1st?

    I understand trauma can cause people do forget and later remember, but wouldn't you remember what you forgot in the first place, would it keep changing?

    I don't even like the idea of the speedy funeral. She seems to be a very "devout" person. God saved her, God made her leave her husband and get herself out of danger.. Isn't it possible god might have somehow saved her husband, or at least helped bring the body back?

    don't get me wrong, my comment has nothing to do with God, but with her faith? Couldn't she of had a little faith that her beloved husband's body would be found and she could hold a "proper burial" for the man?

    Instead there was a rushed media crazed funeral with the weeping widow perched upon his motorcycle. (see pic)

  39. @Ovemex

    I am not feeling the neck thing either, gotta keep it real.
    I am blown away by her expressing her desire to "move on" maybe she is wanting to date the so called witness...hmmm? What happened to that guy? his story did not match hers then poof-gone.
    Then I remember a story on forensic files of a husband/wife faked the guys death to collect ins and planned to move to Mx with the loot. The worst part the stold their lil boy daddy was dead and the child mourned badly. In this case since they could not move to Mx maybe canada..JUST KIDDING FOLKS!! I still go back to these people are culpable in some drug business and something went very wrong.

    Trauma can cause one to forget, defense mechanism..but not changing facts...that's a lying mechanism.

    Don't cha just love people saying Jesus saves them and allows the next guy to die? She can now go forth and save the world. I am very bothered by her, and her apparent lack of tear ducts..the quick funeral...changing story..and wanting tö "move on". and the blood on her ski jacket (days later) we never heard of it again.

  40. Ovemex and buela chivis - this lady is wrong! She capped that guy. Went for a spin on the lake, shot him, dumped the gun and hauled ass. No witnesses, no crime scene, no blood, no body - blame it on the Mexicans. The poor police commander was killed by the Z because he was bringing heat - or because of another case he was investigating - or because he was CDG.

  41. Man, to think I almost believe her but once I read that link, damn what a bitch!! How can she lie to the American people or she completely hiding something thats for sure and what PISSES ME OFF!!! NO reporter has given her the tough questions, NOT ONE! Doesnt take a genius to know that she keep changing her story from here and there what a dumb guerita jaja!!

  42. i noe all ya'll is in texas, an all ..but can we wate fer thuh jedge tuh decide afor we get thuh rope on iss hwere girly......i fer one still hant reddy tuh hang er that spelling?....good huh?

  43. hey big tough Z come out of your hole ,,,take some shots at the coast guard...oh i forgot you feel better terrorizing defenseless people , like the people who live in the little border towns....everbody knows you putitas are cobardes..prey on the people who don't have the means to resist...mebbe some sneaky gringos are aiming guns with large scopes at you now...lots of psyco killers in the USA, our society breeds them...mebbe some would like to kill a big Z just for the feeling of killing...i think i would...

  44. @'lito 'brito

    you cant defend the indefensible, that women is guilty and day by day she keeps burying herself up with her story. Open your eyes and start reading, no wonder you cant spell for crap jaja.

  45. This is a failure of the Obama administration and of the previous Bush administration because they have failed to secure the US border. The only reason these drug cartels are fighting over this area is because whoever controls this area controls very profitable drug routes. Well these drug routes wouldn't even exist, much less be profitable, if the border was secure.

    The US State Department should issue the strongest possible travel advisory against travel to all of Mexico. When Mexico starts losing millions in tourist dollars, even in Cancun and other tourist areas, things will start getting done...not by the USA but by Mexican authorities, who for too long have depended on the USA to clean up their messes.

  46. Now she claims she will not answer more questions in Mexico out of fear for her safety, but out of fear of being arrested!Things that make you go: hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

    Seriously, this woman, does she have NO conscious? An innocent man was BEHEADED because of her.


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