Search for man missing on lake thwarted by gangs

ZAPATA, Texas — U.S. officials say the search for an American tourist reportedly shot dead on a border lake by Mexican pirates has been hampered by threats of an ambush from drug gangs.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas said the search for David Hartley was temporarily halted Wednesday evening as Mexican officials “worried about being ambushed because they’ve gotten the call already.”

He said the search resumed this morning, but Mexican searchers are “doing this under threat of their lives.”

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said the area where the shooting allegedly happened while Hartley and his wife were exploring the lake on Jet Skies is a stronghold of the Zeta drug gang. Gonzalez said he has sent word to Zetas that he wants the body returned and has no plans to prosecute.

Cuellar and two other area congressmen say Mexico was “doing the best that they can” even though Gov. Rick Perry has said drug-gang fears are no excuse to call off the search.


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