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ZAPATA, TEXAS -- It sounds like something out of yesteryear: Pirates attacking boats and sailors, robbing them of their treasures. But it's not on the high seas, but in deep South Texas.

With machine guns in hand, Mexico's deadliest cartel is patrolling the waters of a Texas border lake.

These pirates already have hit several boats on Falcon Lake near Zapata, which is about an hour south of Laredo.

If you go too far across the lake and past the international boundary bouy, you are in Mexican territory and subject to attacks by pirates toting assault weapons.

It is unsafe in Mexico. Don't go to Mexico, warned Game Warden Capt. Fernando Cervantes. We can not cross over onto that side. If a boat goes across, that's it. We stop there at the line.

One man fishing on the lake Thursday, Lucas Garza, said he'd be staying away from the boundary.

We're not planning on going to that side, he said. We just know there's no good news on that side.

He and his friends have heard the warnings about Zeta cartel pirates ambushing boats on the Mexican side, operating with virtual impunity as they steal cash and electronics at machine gun-point.

At least three boats have been robbed so far, and authorities say they are investigating a fourth incident, as well.

The fear of what lurks beyond the boundary is keeping even local fisherman well within the U.S. side of the lake.

U.S. authorities say there just isn't a Mexican law presence on the other side of the lake, so boaters who do venture to that part of Falcon Lake are on their own.

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