Falcon Lake, part of the Rio Grande situated directly on the Texas-Mexico border, has recently become a haven for the pirates, and there have been at least five reported run-ins with pirates on the lake so far this year, although this is the first reported case of a death.
The sheriff said many of the pirates are teens or pre-teens, and some "barely even know how to use a weapon."
But despite that, he said he has long feared that someone would be killed.
"The one thing I dreaded on Falcon Lake has happened," he said. "The lake is not secure, the border is not secure because the incident that I dreaded the most has, in fact, happened. We cannot go to Mexico, we cannot recover that body, we cannot conduct an investigation, we have to tell the family we can't do anything about it."
According to ABC Rio Grande, Texas, affiliate KRGV-TV, there have been at least four previous incidents on the lake in the past five months:
April 30: Four heavily armed men boarded two boats near the Old Guerrero area demanding money.
May 6: Two armed men approached a boat and demanded cash.
May 16: Five armed men boarded a boat on the United States side of the lake.
Aug 31: Pirates, using a small boat marked "Game Wardin" tried to stop a Texas fisherman.