Tiffany Young-Hartley: A Clairvoyant Sheriff, Vanishing Suspects, Whoring Politicos, Incompetent Pot Smugglers, And Weird Facebook Photos

Categories: Crime, Texas
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Still a lot of unanswered questions
Some law officers will tell you they develop a sixth sense about crime. They will say that even while they are driving to work, they know the kind of mayhem their shift will bring.

But as Talking Points Memo notes, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez's ESP is downright freakish.

The Texas side of Falcon Lake, on which American David Hartley recently disappeared, is part of Sheriff Sigi's jurisdiction. Back in May, the sheriff led the charge in making it known that Mexican Freshwater Narco-Pirates were bedeviling the bass-laden lake.

American fisherman reported a couple of successful robberies -- one allegedly perpetrated by several men with the letter Z (for the drug cartel Las Zetas) brazenly tattooed on their necks and wrists. As scary as that sounds, some of the other acts of piracy sounded like a border version of a Calvin and Hobbes fantasy, like when one would-be pirate wrote "Game Wardin" in black electrical tape on the side of his prow.

Nervertheless, Sheriff Sigi was alarmed, and on May 27, he had this to say to ABC News:

"It makes me nervous that these things are happening. It irritates me because we can try and do more if the federal government would provide more funding. I dread having to even think of having a fisherman resist, shot in the head, and we can't even go retrieve the body."

David Hartley was a jet-skier and not a fisherman, but in every single other detail, the sheriff's dreaded nightmare scenario has unfolded.

Hartley resisted by running away. He was allegedly shot in the head -- indeed, if his alleged widow Tiffany Young-Hartley is to be believed, a bullet fired from the back of a moving, bobbing motorboat caught her husband dead-center in the back of the head, even though he was
rocketing away on a Jet-Ski at speeds upward of 60 mph.

What's more, she claims that bullet catapulted him over the front of his moving Jet-Ski. And now, of course, his body is nowhere to be found.

Bad business indeed. But if only America had listened to Sheriff Gonzalez and given him some more money, none of this might have transpired. Or so he would like you to believe. Just as Governor Rick Perry would like you to believe Tiffany Young-Hartley's story, because to believe her is to sign on to his contention that the border is out of control and he is just the man to fix it.

Gads. This case is so strange -- every clue that would seem to add credence to Young-Hartley's story comes heavily doused with caveats.

First, late last week it came to light that while en route to the lake, the couple was pulled over by the Department of Public Safety. Their Jet-Skis were on a trailer with Texas tags, it seems, while their truck still had Mexican tags that reflected their recently-ended sojourn as residents of Reynosa.

That they were pulled over does enhance the credibility of Tiffany's timeline: for at least part of that fateful Thursday, she was with her husband when and where she said they were.

But this is where it gets weird. While Hartley was not cited for a traffic violation, it was because...get this: According to San Antonio's KENS-TV, "A DPS spokesperson said David Hartley would have received a ticket but they saw two trucks pass by with marijuana loaded in the back."

Wow. Just wow. These drug lords are some seriously inventive mofos. I've read of weed lining the inside of statues of the Virgin Mary, secret compartments of every description in every type of vehicle, drugs stuffed inside of living animals, and on and on and on.

And we are to believe that these two trucks chugged past these two cops in broad daylight, on a fairly major highway, brazenly hauling huge bales of unconcealed weed?

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The scene of the....allegations
That scenario brings to mind two more questions.

First, if there is a point to be made about porous border security, the fact that smugglers would even think for a moment that they could drive down the road with a truck-bed piled sky-high with sticky green, well that to me speaks more eloquently than some murky incident that took place well over on the other side, even if the official story is to be believed.

And number two, when did Cheech and Chong sign on as couriers for the Zetas?

More weirdness. First, it was announced that two suspects had been named.

Investigators believe brothers Juan Pedro and Jose Manuel Zaldivar Farias may have killed Hartley as he snapped photos of a sunken church from a personal watercraft, said Tamaulipas State Police unit chief Juan Carlos Ballesteros.The pair already are wanted for allegedly belonging to a gang of pirates operating on Falcon Lake, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, and allegedly terrorizing a Mexican town at the south end of the lake.

Oops. Actually, there are no suspects:

Despite reports Saturday by U.S. and Mexican news outlets that a Tamaulipas official had identified two brothers as the men responsible for David Michael Hartley's death, Mexican authorities categorically denied on Sunday that they had any suspects.

Both men reportedly belong to a gang operating out of a town near the reservoir's southern end, according to The Associated Press. The news broke Saturday when Spanish-language newspaper El Universal reported that Juan Carlos Ballesteros, a Tamaulipas State Police group leader based in Miguel Alemán, had identified the duo.

Or maybe there still are: Both CNN and Fox News are proceeding as if these two brothers -- each of whom is supposedly a known, numbered and tattooed member of Las Zetas -- are the suspects.

Now you might think the right would be marching in lockstep behind Young-Hartley, as she is one of their own and her story fits in well with their election season narrative, but such is not the case.

Sure, Rick Perry claims to believe Young-Hartley and says that anyone who doubts her is reprehensible. Nancy Grace also believes her.

But Michelle Malkin -- no stranger to the secure borders debate -- does not.

While Grace finds Young-Hartley's demeanor credible, two who do not are body-language expert Dr. Lillian Glass (a frequent guest on Grace's show) and "statement analysis" expert Peter Hyatt.

Lastly, one of the weirdest things about this whole case was the action that took place on David Hartley's Facebook page after his disappearance. We don't find it all that weird that someone logged in and added some friends: many spouses know each other's Facebook passwords, and perhaps Tiffany wanted the page to be a tribute.

But how could a freshly-minted widow -- one who claims to have just found her husband floating face down in a lake with his face blown off by Mexican Freshwater Narco-Pirate Sniper, all while bullets whizzed around her -- find it in her to change her late husband's profile picture from a typical Facebook-style shot to one of Lake Falcon's open water?

It's weird at best and possibly even ghoulish: what is the thought process there?


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