Mexican authorities announced on Monday the arrest of a suspect in the 2010 murder of David Hartley, who was shot to death while jet skiing with his wife on Falcon Lake in Zapata County on Texas-Mexico border.
Mexican authorities said Salvador Alfonso Martinez is a suspected regional leader for the Zetas cartel and is also accused of orchestrating hundreds of killings and a prison break.
"This was not a name I had heard before," Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez told Local 2 Investigates.
Gonzalez spent the last two years trying to uncover the men behind Hartley's murder, which occurred on Mexico's side of the lake. Gonzalez said Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, were jet skiing on the Lake when the pair crossed into Mexican waters to take snap shots of a partially submerged church. Gonzalez said at the time an island near the church was used as waypoint for "tons of marijuana."
Gonzalez said the Hartleys crossed paths with two low-level cartel enforcers who opened fire on the couple. Hartley was killed, but his wife managed to escape.
"If it's true, and I hope that is, this is a welcome relief for the family," Gonzalez said.
Mexican authorities report Martinez, who went by the name Spanish nickname "The Squirrel," was arrested by members of Mexico's Marines. Shortly after Hartley's murder, Gonzalez said the lead investigator on the case in Mexico was found beheaded as a warning to "let the cartel take care of this problem."
Despite Gonzalez's efforts, the investigation into Hartley's murder seemed to stall. In September of 2011, Local 2 Investigates reported Tiffany Hartley employed the help of Judicial Watch Inc. to help pressure the US government into revealing what progress had been made on the investigation into her husband's death.