Body of Fallen Los Zetas Leader is Stolen

By Dialogo
October 11, 2012

Heriberto Lazcano, alias “El Lazca,” leader of Mexican drug trafficking gang Los Zetas, was killed in a confrontation with Mexican Military forces in the toughest strike against drug trafficking made by the government of Felipe Calderón. However, shortly after, his body was stolen from a funeral home.

Los Zetas is the cruelest criminal organization in the country. In recent years, the group extended its power towards the northeast border with the United States, along the Mexican Gulf up to Guatemala, and is currently engaged in a deadly fight with the Sinaloa Cartel, led by another wanted drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who escaped from a high security prison in Mexico, in January 2001.

The Mexican Prosecutor’s Office was offering a $2.6 million reward for Lazcano, born in 1975, while the United States was offering $5 million.

According to the Navy, Lazcano and one of his men died in a confrontation on October 7 near Progreso (3,500 inhabitants), in the northern state of Coahuila and on the border with Texas.

The Mexican Navy published photographs of the body with his fingerprints on October 9. The pictures were taken before the body was stolen on October 8, from a funeral home in the town of Sabinas.

“Facial features match those of Heriberto Lazcano,” the statement said adding that “forensic tests continue on information and samples collected during the legal autopsy.”

A heavily armed commando broke into the funeral home and took the corpse around 1:30 am on October 8, said Prosecutor Homero Ramos, of Coahuila, in a press conference.

Lazcano was particularly known for his bloodthirsty character. Drug trafficking expert Ricardo Ravelo, author of a book about Los Zetas, told AFP that Lazcano “set the trend of decapitating” victims and recruited Guatemalan militias to execute bloody massacres.

In 2010, Los Zetas broke ties with their old Gulf Cartel bosses, generating a bloody battle in the country’s northeast.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that by the end of 2011, “El Chapo” Guzmán agreed with other criminal organizations to confront Los Zetas, whose ramifications extended through the Mexican Gulf up to Guatemala.

In addition to drug trafficking, Los Zetas have practiced human trafficking and kidnapping of immigrants, extortion, and fuel theft.

Among other bloody crimes, Los Zetas are accused of the massacre of 72 migrants in Northern Mexico, in August 2010, the largest slaughter attributed to a drug trafficking organization in Mexico.

Another of the crimes attributed to “El Lazca” is the killing of 52 people, mostly women, in a Monterrey casino (capital of Nuevo León, north of Mexico) in August 2011, where they set the building on fire in broad daylight, apparently because the owner refused to pay for extortions.

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