Gadget-thieving Mexican narco-pirates ambush boaters on Texas lake

terrorlake.jpg

Armed with machine guns, members of the Zeta drug cartel from Mexico are attacking boats and robbing sailors of their loot—and gadgets—on a lake that straddles the Texas/Mexico border. So reports a San Antonio, TX television news station, anyway:

If you go too far across the lake and past the international boundary bouy, you are in Mexican territory and subject to attacks by pirates toting assault weapons.

"It is unsafe in Mexico. Don't go to Mexico," warned Game Warden Capt. Fernando Cervantes. "We can not cross over onto that side. If a boat goes across, that's it. We stop there at the line."

One man fishing on the lake Thursday, Lucas Garza, said he'd be staying away from the boundary. "We're not planning on going to that side," he said. "We just know there's no good news on that side." He and his friends have heard the warnings about Zeta cartel pirates ambushing boats on the Mexican side, operating with virtual impunity as they steal cash and electronics at machine gun-point.

Pirates terrorize boaters on Texas lake along Mexican border (via Bruce Sterling)

Video after the jump.

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  1. The unstated assumption is that Americans are entitled to cross this border freely, but I don’t think this is really the case. If the pirates weren’t making Americans afraid to cross the border illegally, the Americans would be fishing in Mexican waters. Isn’t that like poaching?

    1. “If the pirates weren’t making Americans afraid to cross the border illegally, the Americans would be fishing in Mexican waters. Isn’t that like poaching?”

      It’s not illegal for nationals of either country to cross the border there, as long as they don’t land (barring an emergency, of course). I’m not sure what you mean by “illegally” in that sentence, unless you just didn’t take two minutes to glance at the relevant rules and were trying to make some sort of point.

      You do need a Mexican fishing license to fish over the border. Americans can get one for a small fee, no problem. You used t’need a Mexican boating license but that’s no longer the case.

      Likewise, Mexicans are permitted to fish on Texas waters with a Texas fishing license, which is easy enough to get. However, Texas fishing regulations are more stringent; it’s common for commercial fishers to cross the line with illegal fishing gear. This has been the cause of some small tensions in the past.

    2. Wrong, I fish this lake all the time. You have to obtain a Mexico fishing lic then you can fish anywere on the lake legally.

  2. It would be interesting to see what the reaction would be if the situation were reversed, with armed bands of Americans waiting for Mexicans to cross the border.

    1. I think it is safe to say that this does happen, but we call them something official sounding like border patrol agents.

    1. “What’s a bunch of trinkets when we took the whole state of Texas?”

      America did not take the whole State of Texas. Texans did. Remember that Mexico allowed and asked foreigners ( especially americans and europeans) along with mexicans to migrate to that territory. To work the land and too push Indians out. When Texans got tired of being taxed and ruled over by a tyrant, they declared their independence. It was a TEXAN army led by Sam Houston that defeated Santa Ana, not the American Army. Hence the REPUBLIC OF TEXAS. Texas wanted freedom for Texans. But it was out of necessity that chose to become a State in the Union. They knew that in the end that it would be a short lived freedom without having a large army to protect it’s border.

      1. Whoah, there, hoss!

        Texas exists because Texans wanted to keep African and Native American SLAVES and the Mexican government had moral objections to human trafficking. So the Texans killed a shitload of Mexicans in order to keep their illegal slaves in bondage – that is what happened, it’s called history.

        Although I’m sure there are still many racist shitheads in Texas that would still like to keep slaves (read the Intelligence Report sometime) most people in the state have progressed into a more humanist, evolved mindset. That doesn’t mean you should deny the past, or rewrite history to honor Joe McCarthy.

        1. “Texas exists because Texans wanted to keep African and Native American SLAVES and the Mexican government had moral objections to human trafficing.”

          @anonymous

          Who’s rewriting history here anonymous? I wrote my past comment in response to another anonymous posters claim that America simply took Texas from Mexico. I’m sorry if I had to truncate Texas history (which made it sound a bit rote), but I wanted a comment and not a 10 page essay on the subject of Texas independence.

          Now for you to insinuate that Texans only wanted independence because of slavery is just plain ignorant. There were a host of other factors, but you’d have to pick up a history book at a public library or school and actually read it to know.

          Firstly, Mexico did in fact loosen it’s immigration policy after the formation of their government upon independence from Spain. The government did invite Americans as well as Mexicans to migrate to their Texas territory. Texas was a vast territory and sparsely populated at the time and was home to Camanche Indians as well as other tribes. Indians the Mexican government wanted removed from their territory. Funny that the Mexican government had no moral objections to this. Turns out that American settlers came in large numbers and eventually outnumbered the local mexicans. This worried the Mexican government and measures were passed and one of them ended immigration (tried to anyhow).

          Now for the other reasons for wanting independence, besides the simpleton explanation that it was over slavery. Being forced to accept catholicism, and forced by the government to pay the catholic church a tithe. Most settlers wanted to grow cotton (being a huge cash crop and all), but were forced by the Mexican government to grow other crops. Criminals for soldiers of the territory, and customs duties… just to name a few. Oh, and lets not forget the transitions from a Federal government to a Centrist government headed by a man known to dislike immigrants and democracy, Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana.

          Now I’m gonna skip over a whole bunch of stuff here like I did in my last comment to keep this from being an epic. Don’t be upset or accuse me of being a racist shithead in Texas that would still like to keep slaves and hasn’t progressed into a more humanist, evolved mindset for doing so. You are correct in stating that slaves were brought to the Texas territory when Americans migrated and that the Mexican government didn’t agree with this practice. The number of slaves within Texas before independence was minimal. There were still more native Mexicans in the territory than slaves and vastly more white Americans. The Mexican government may not have agreed with the practice, but it did very little to stop it. To say Texans fought for their independence over a small amount of slaves is ludicrous. It was only after gaining independence that there was a massive influx of slavery into the territory (along with white migrants). Texans didn’t join the United States because they wanted to keep slavery (although upon annexation the United States did allow the Republic to do so), but because they could not continue protecting themselves against constant incursions from the Mexican Army. Even though Texans won their independence Mexico refused to acknowledge it. We know that annexation started the Mexican-American War and we know how that ended too. Also, we know that Americans fought a Civil War not too long afterwards in which slavery in the United States was abolished. The internal strife and problems this caused for Texas is another part of history all together.

          Next time don’t accuse me of denying the past or trying to rewrite history in honor of Joe McCarthy. Especially if you’re going to do exactly the same thing you accused me of. It makes you seem foolish and vindictive when you write nasty things about a person you do not even know for disagreeing with your point of view.

  3. And they don’t even put up the facade of asking for papers. We could learn a thing or two from them.

    1. We;; given that it’s criminals “not putting up a facade”, I don’t understand how that’s relevant to law enforcement, let alone due process and the rule of law.

  4. What I’m wondering is what happens if an American fisher on the American side of the buoy catches a fish and his line crosses over to the Mexican side. Is he now stealing from Mexico’s GDP?

    1. @ anon #5: not if the american preps and eats all of his fish on the mexican side. if he’s sending any of it back to his starving family back stateside then yes he’s fleecing mexico’s GDP

    1. ‘Terrorize’ is a valid word. It’s only recently that terrorizing someone made you a terrorist.

      1. Just pointing out typical TV news hyperbole. People get mugged here everyday. News media doesn’t refer to NYers or Angelinos, etc. as being “terrorized” by gangs/muggers…oh, wait, they do.

        At any rate, don’t all Texans carry guns like in the movies?

  5. On second thought, maybe it’s just a ruse to draw attention away from the hundreds of drug-smuggling submarines!

  6. Oh, this is going to get used by the panic-mongers on the right as justification for more ridiculous “papers please” laws like the one in Arizona.

    Laws which do nothing to address real problems, like this one, oh irony of ironies.

  7. There is zero chance that the Zetas have speed boats patrolling this lake for the purpose of – wait for it – stealing gadgets from Texan fisherman. Jesus, who even thinks that’s a possibility?

    *IF* the Zetas are there, (and where’s the proof, by the way?) their aim is to run drugs or money across that lake, or keep it clear of competitors. They are not spending fuel and boats and guns and manpower on stealing the occasional gps and pocket change.

    BTW, who are they meeting out on the lake for the transfers? I would suggest asking Game Warden Capt. Fernando Cervantes what his men do in their off hours…

    1. I’ve got to agree, the idea of Los Zetas wasting time playing pirate to some fishermen is pretty absurd. If it is them they are doing it because it’s the most polite way they know how to tell everyone to stay the fuck away without chopping heads off.

      1. If it is them they are doing it because it’s the most polite way they know how to tell everyone to stay the fuck away without chopping heads off.

        That’s what strikes me as odd about the whole thing as well. The situation is basically all out war over there. Yet the cartels lose eighteen men attacking the army, apparently just trying to drive them away long enough to kill each other in peace. Very mafia genteel.

        Incidentally, dhalgren, the US hasn’t intervened in anything because the cartels are trying like hell not to give them reason to. That kind of caution is the only thing keeping the violence from spilling over the border, despite the cartel chiefs all living on the US side. Didn’t you notice that the people with assault rifles were only mugging unarmed civilians on their side of the buoy?

  8. Who would have thought that drug prohibition would lead to powerful criminal organizations that could act with impunity.
    Wait.
    What?

  9. My question is why isn’t our government – that’s the United States of America so we don’t get confused here – doing anything about it? Oh right I forgot. The last few Presidents, Republican and Democrat, have shown zero interest in protecting our borders. Just giving lip service.

    We are either a nation of laws with defined borders that should be protected or let’s drop the illusion, this farce, and let anyone in that wants to come. That’s what it’s come down to at this point.

    There seems to be a growing view of many that there should be no borders and everyone should come and go as they please from one side of the world to the other.

    No thank you. I want a country where we can decide who get’s to come in and who we don’t want in. There is nothing wrong with that. You are either for the rule of law, a common culture, civilization or you are for anarchy. That’s your choice.

    I’ve made mine.

    1. By “Doing anything about it” what do you mean exactly? Militarizing the borders? Increased patrols? Fences? Erm…we’ve done all that. And more.

      What’s being demanded, from the extreme right, is some kind of DOOMWALL that would cost billions upon billions to maintain, and probably still be ineffective.

      Real immigration reform is about the economics of migrant labor, it’s about racial politics and changing populations, it’s about gray market economies and health care. It’s a big fuzzy complicated issue that has almost nothing to do with lake pirates and other scare stories that the far right likes to trot out when it is looking to gin up the base.

      By the way, it’s primary season in an election year. Surprised?

      I want a country where we can decide who get’s to come in and who we don’t want in. There is nothing wrong with that. You are either for the rule of law, a common culture, civilization or you are for anarchy. That’s your choice.

      I can think of a country that has very strict border control and very clear ideas about ‘common culture’. I don’t think you’d get on very well in North Korea though.

    2. What does calling for the US to lock down its borders have to do with crimes committed against US citizens in Mexican territory? Just wondering.

      Oh, and when you say, “common culture”, do you mean Tex without the Mex, and if so, could you provide some examples of Mexless Texas? Thanks in advance.

  10. wow, interesting take on texas history (if you mean rote repetition of texas history textbook garbage interesting).
    on the other hand, The report on Los Zetas IS interesting in that they are so underreported on. As Chapo’s cartel chalks up the bodies in Juarez, los Zetas have been kidnapping and extorting mexicans all along the border with increasing regularity.
    In mexico they claim that the gulf and Sinaloa cartels are teaming up to take on the Zetas in Tamaulipas. For those of us who have family on both sides of the river its shaping up to be a long hot summer.

  11. yikes… calmate gabacho.
    common culture? civilization?
    how about some international laws respecting worker rights and environmental protection first. NAFTA really did a number on the border. there’s Home Depot’s in Tabasco now, pero tu sabes que paso…verdad? Lots of mexicans lost their jobs to china because the U.S. forced them to abandon their “protectionist” labor laws. so, they come over here to pick our fruit and build our houses. is crime coming too? of course! if we want the drugs, someone will bring them. but its better to build fences than help neighbors right? right?
    common culture? we’ve got one…it’s called survival holmes!

  12. PvE carebears wander into lowsec without considering the consequences, meet pirates who are pro at PvP, and get ganked.

    That seems reasonable to me.

    But then again, my morality has been warped by playing too much EVE Online.

  13. Well I think what some people are getting at is how “common” certain scenarios sound:

    -Americans attacked by Mexican pirates.
    -Drug cartels at war.
    -Mexican civilians dying in drug wars.

    Where as most of the world would shit a brick if a headline read vigilante Texan kills Mexican drug smugglers…and at that point he would probably do a life sentence in prison. Assuming it wasn’t self defense.

    So yeah to some degree we have spent all these resources to “play” nice. Where as the other side really only plays by their rules. Which makes things rather difficult to control.

  14. Ahhh…The Zetas..

    Let us never forget who initially armed and trained them (for drug interdiction efforts).

  15. “My question is why isn’t our government – that’s the United States of America so we don’t get confused here – doing anything about it? Oh right I forgot. The last few Presidents, Republican and Democrat, have shown zero interest in protecting our borders. Just giving lip service.”

    You rally for enforcing US borders for US citizens trying to leave toward Mexico? Interesting take on the problem.

  16. The “Republic of Texas” a myth of history and US propaganda. And had Mexico enacted SB 1070 in 1830 in Texas, my guess is the public would have a different view of it.

    I am happy for the reconquest of Arizona and Texas back to Mexico. If either of those belonged to Mexican again I might even be interested in visiting them.

  17. “Gadget-thieving Mexican narco-pirates” – Did this come out of the Cyberpunk Name Generator?

  18. The Republic of Texas was established with the help of lots of Tejanos, that is Hispanic Texas natives. The flag that flew over the Alamo, after all, was of the Mexican Constitution of 1824, which gave states more rights. Juan Seguin and other Tejanos fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. This is why the town of Seguin was named after him. The tragedy of Texas, though, was after the successful revolution, Texas was flooded by Anglo frontiersmen who couldn’t tell Tejanos from Mexicans, & didn’t care. Eventually things got so bad, Seguin had to flee to Mexico, where Santa Ana forced him to take part in another invasion of Texas. Anglo racism was reinforced, & Texans became only WASPs.

  19. If this story is even true (which I think is somewhat unlikely, as people above have mentioned stealing a few GPS devices and pocket change hardly seems worth the effort)I hope that any fisherman assaulted by the Zetas is one of those NRA gun freaks who think anyone should be able to buy military-grade assault rifles. As he stares down the barrel of an AK-47 that was legally purchased in the US I would hope that he reflects on his stance on gun-control.

    I would like to see any reporting on Mexican criminal gangs make absolutely clear that the weapons used by these thugs almost always come from the US.

  20. For the last time: It’s not “piracy”, it’s “naval vessel infringement.”

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