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Mexican pirates shoot US jet skier near border on Falcon Lake, Texas

Officials say uptick in piracy on Falcon Lake, Texas, is a result of pressures on Mexican drug cartels, whose members have been forced to diversify. Before the shooting the pirates, members of the notorious Zeta gang, had shaken down but not injured US bass fishermen on the border lake.

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US authorities and outraged Texans are pondering a plan of action to deal with Mexican pirates after a US jet skier was shot Thursday and his fleeing wife chased onto the US side of a border lake.

The shooting on Falcon Lake, part of the Rio Grande watershed near Zapata, Texas, follows a months-long surge in attacks by drug-cartel-linked pirates on US boaters who have crossed into Mexican waters. It is the first instance in which an American has been hurt.

"Piracy on Falcon Lake is an incredible story, especially when Somali piracy has been so much in the news," says Robert Chesney, a national security and terrorism expert at the University of Texas School of Law, in Austin. "It's amazing to think that it's actually happening on the Texas border."

Officials say the surge in attacks is a direct outcome of pressures on the cartels, both from law enforcement and competing cartels, that has pushed drug smugglers to diversify to supplement their incomes. The pirates are members of the violent Zeta gang, primarily deserters from the "federales" and other Mexican law-enforcement agencies, who used to be the enforcers for the Gulf Coast Cartel before essentially staging a coup and taking over much of the cartel's drug-running.

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