Five months ago, David and Tiffany Hartley set out to have a fun day of jet-skiing and sightseeing on Falcon Lake, in Texas on the border with Mexico. Their holiday turned into a nightmare, however, when they were attacked by members of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels; David was shot dead and Tiffany barely escaped back to the American side after trying to rescue her husband. His body has never been found, and the investigation has largely come to a standstill; Mexican authorities have largely backed off since the lead investigator was beheaded, and US agencies are limited because of a lack of jurisdiction in Mexico. It looked as if the case would sit unsolved in a cold-case file.
But, maybe not. The one police agency still actively investigating David’s murder is the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office, and they claim to have identified four suspects:
[Sheriff Sigi] Gonzalez said the four men identified are Zetas members, but he refused to release any more details at this time.
The four of them, he added, were part of a larger group of seven men that attacked David and Tiffany Hartley as they approached the abandoned town of Guerrero Viejo, in the Mexican side of the bank.
“They were watching her with a rifle to her body and they lowered it and pick it up and lowered,” he said. “They were waiting for word whether to shoot her or not shoot her. “
Tiffany was able to get away and make it to safety, but David Hartley’s body has never been found.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez said the suspects are known to be living in Mexico, but since the attack, they have crossed into the U.S. several times.
He said his office will continue gathering enough information to arrest those responsible.
(There’s a video report at the link, too.)
Sheriff Zapata said any information gathered would be passed to the FBI and, from them, to the State Department, presumably to take up with Mexican authorities. Call me cynical, but, while I’m sure the FBI would like to nail these guys, I have my doubts about how willing State is to rock the boat with Mexico over this. And I’m even more doubtful of serious help from Mexican law enforcement; they’ve already shown themselves to be subject to intimidation, and the Zetas themselves show no restraint. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, however. But, even if they are arrested in Mexico, Texas will have to forgo applying the death penalty, since Mexican law prohibits extradition in cases where execution is an option.
However, the fact that these killers cross regularly into the United States gives hope that Zapata County sheriff’s deputies or other law enforcement will be able to capture on our side of the border. Eventually, they’re bound to make a mistake.
I have another suggestion, however, one that crosses borders and is, one might say, traditional in the American West: name the men, put bounties on their heads, and make sure the posters are stamped “dead or alive.”
We’re dealing with outlaws, so let’s treat them as outlaws.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)