That is often no longer the case, mostly because Mexican officials who had good relations with local government and law enforcement in Texas have been forced to flee from the drug war that has claimed more than 26,000 Mexicans in the past four years, says Mr. Pena, the Texas lawmaker.
"The leaders of border communities on the Mexican side now live on our side," says Pena, who met with local and state law-enforcement officials at the lake on Wednesday. "Plus the cartels have infiltrated many aspects of government on the border, they've infiltrated law enforcement, so you don't know who to trust anymore."
The incident began last Thursday afternoon when presumed Mexican pirates, already implicated earlier this year for robbing US bass boaters who had crossed over to the Mexican side, began shooting at Mr. Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, who had gone six miles into Mexico to visit the ruins of a submerged church.
Ms. Hartley says that when her husband was shot, she doubled back to try to fetch him, but had to abandon the rescue effort in order to escape. One eyewitness saw a boat matching Ms. Hartley's description of the boat used in the alleged attack chasing her deep into US waters. A memorial service for Mr. Hartley was held Tuesday.
Amid pleas from the family and wife of Mr. Hartley, the US has put pressure on Mexican authorities, some of whom have publicly doubted the veracity of Ms. Hartley's story. Mr. Hartley's father, Dennis Hartley, told the Associated Press, "I don't think at this time ... Mexico is really doing anything."