The Mexican Navy announced that the notorious Heriberto Lazcano AKA “El Lazca”—maximum leader of Los Zetas—was killed along with his chauffeur in a shoot-out near a baseball park in Progreso, Coahuila, Oct. 7. But two days later, the body was lost when an armed commando raided the funeral home where it was being held in the nearby town of Sabinas. Naval authorities insist a positive identification had been made through fingerprint analysis, although the results of DNA tests are still being awaited. Mexico’s Governance Secretary Alejandro Poiré blamed a “lack of coordination” between federal and Coahuila forces for the loss of the body.
Lazcano, also known as “El Verdugo” (the Executioner), deserted an elite Mexican army unit and rose to head the Zetas, considered to be Mexico’s most brutal cartel. The US has a $5 million price on his head. (Milenio, Oct. 10; APRO, WSJ, Oct. 9)
Was it really El Lazca?
Some reports (AP) but not others (Reuters) suggest that the identity of the body was only determined after it had been stolen, when the fingerprint analysis came back in. Indeed, announcement of Lazca’s death only seems to have been made on the 9th, the same day the body disappeared. The Mexican press is reminding readers that authorities have spoken too soon in announcing the supposed capture of kingpins in the past. Vanguardia newspaper recalls that Lazca had been reported dead by the Mexican media, supposedly based on military sources, three times over the past six years.