Rumors Swirl that the Drug Cartels Have Discovered Lake Amistad


DEL RIO, TX — An incident Sunday on Lake Amistad has heightened worries of some avid fishermen who enjoy the lake near Del Rio that the border crisis is turning the large, 1.8 million acre-foot reservoir into a dangerous place. National Parks Service’s Superintendent for the Amistad National Recreation Area Chris Ryan said law enforcement is monitoring the area closely, but did not believe an incident reported Sunday and widely discussed on Internet fishing forums was related to the drug cartels.

According to Ryan, two male fishermen from San Antonio were in their boat fishing near Marker 9 on the Mexico side of the lake when a Mexican male driving solo in a speed boat rammed the fishermen’s boat in the area where the engine was. The incident happened at around 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 13.

“He sped up to us in a white Honda speedboat,” one of the fishermen told San Angelo LIVE! “He intentionally hit our motor to disable us.” The man then circled back around while yelling at the fishermen to “get off the lake.”

The fishermen were able to limp back to the U.S. side of the lake using a trolling motor, Ryan said. The fishermen said the NPS then towed them back to the dock. Marker 9 is located near Box Canyon and Amistad Acres to the north. To the south, on the Mexico side of the lake, is Cañon Del Burro. Both Burro and nearby Cañon Del Zorro on the Mexico side of the lake are popular fishing spots, the fishermen told us.

According to anonymous reports on the Texas Fishing Forum, the solo man in the Honda boat was sporting a mohawk but neither fisherman could confirm he was armed. Ryan said he was well aware of the incident but also told us no arrests have been made.

Ryan said fishermen should be mindful of fishing on the Mexico side of the lake as neither his patrols, the Customs and Border Protection, or the Texas Game Warden have explicit jurisdiction there unless allowed by the Mexico Consulate, and permission takes time to acquire.

Ryan said with all of the surveillance of the lake and the natural barriers, the cartel traffickers are more likely to use areas where there are easier crossings of the Rio Grande located to the north or south of Lake Amistad. Generally, the cartels don’t want to be seen, he added.

Ryan said bad publicity at Lake Amistad could hurt the prospects of many fishing tournaments scheduled this year. He stressed that the NPS believes the incident was isolated and not indicative of a trend. He was also skeptical it involved any of the Mexican drug cartels.

Bass fishing is popular on Lake Amistad. Every weekend there is some sort of tournament. The largest tournament upcoming this year is the Border Battle Bass Tournament put on by the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce that is expected to attract 150 boats. It is scheduled for the weekend of September 25.

Ryan said the biggest threat to tourism right now are the lake water levels. They have been low for a couple years. Ryan said irrigation on the US and Mexico side upstream has impacted the lake levels the most. He said a weather event where a storm parks itself over the lake or over the Rio Grande or Pecos upstream will fill the lake up the quickest. During the summer of 2019, the lake was over 80 percent full. Today, the lake water levels indicate it is 52.8 percent full. Still, the lake is huge, covering just under 30,000 acres even at its current lower water levels.

Lake Amistad straddles the Texas-Mexico border on the west side of Del Rio, just downstream of the confluence of the Pecos River and the Rio Grande.

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The title to this article is irresponsible at best.  I live and own a small business here and i am aware of the incident.  At no time have i heard any rumors about the cartel.  Local businesses here are having a hard enough time as it is with COVID.  This fake headline only hurts us.  The article is factual and in no way suggests that the cartel is using our lake.  Anyone with any common sense knows that the terrain here is not conducive to traffic.  It’s much easier to cross the river than the lake.  I’m a licensed captain and i am in the water EVERY DAY!  I’ve had no such experience.  Fake News Bull shit.  I expected better

j j, Wed, 07/14/2021 - 09:35

This article does not say whether the fishermen were legally fishing on the Mexico side or not. Just because it is a popular fishing location does not make it legal for Americans to enter any more than the U.S. being a popular location(destination) makes it legal for foreigners to just enter. I think a better job of reporting the small details would help this story as opposed to trying to incite divisiveness.  I have visited and worked at the lake for 20 plus years and never had a problem with the cartels.

The San Antonio fishermen were attacked. NPS verified the report. Whether or not the fishermen had a Mexico fishing license is inconsequential. 

The rumors are swirling on fishing forums about Amistad. 

So you expect Mexican residents to respect our laws, but when asked if Americans were respecting Mexican laws it's "Inconsequential"?

It's the same thing as when an immigrant gets injured crossing the border and some people on here are happy about it because they were disobeying the law. If those fisherman were not supposed to be where they were then it does mean something, it's not "inconsequential."

j j, Wed, 07/14/2021 - 16:00

Joe, you would do well to review some of the articles from SA Live past when being "illegal" was of great consequence, especially when those being attacked didn't look like you guys.

There is a treaty that allows US citizens to traverse all of Lake Amistad. These fishermen are not invading Mexico. The Mexican authorities do require everyone fishing on the Mexico side of the lake to obtain a Mexico fishing license, however. 

Whether or not the San Antonio fishermen had a license remains inconsequential, unless ramming boat motors and screaming wildly is the Mexican way of enforcing the possession of fishing licenses. 

"The Mexican authorities do require everyone fishing on the Mexico side of the lake to obtain a Mexico fishing license, however. "

So you don't like it when Mexicans come here and break the law, but when Americans go to Mexico and break the law you are ok with it? Is it your hatred for Mexicans that justifies your stance or are you just hypocritical in general?

Bet them cartels use mini subs crossing Amistad for many years. If you dont see it, it didnt happen. 

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