Mexican officials simultaneously confirmed Tuesday morning that they had killed the leader of one of the country’s most notorious drug cartels and that the body had been stolen.
According to TV Azteca, authorities in the state of Coahuila said fingerprint records prove one of the two men killed in a shootout with Mexican Navy forces Sunday was Humberto Lazcano Lazcano, aka “El Lazca,” founder and leader of the Zetas cartel.
However, Lazcano’s body was stolen late Monday night from the funeral home where his autopsy was held. State attorney general Homero Ramos Gloria said the funeral home’s owner reported that a gang of armed men broke into the facility and restrained employees while taking the bodies of Lazcano and another gang member, Mario Alberto Rodríguez Rodríguez.
The Mexican newspaper El Debate reported that the two men got into a firefight with authorities after being spotted at a baseball game in Sabinas, Coahuila, and tried to get away in a van. At one point, Lazcano allegedly fired an AR-15 rifle armed with a grenade launcher before exiting the vehicle. Rodríguez died inside the vehicle, while Lazcano was shot and killed after escaping the vehicle.
The New York Times reported that the Zetas, which used to serve as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel before splitting off and carving out their own niche in the volatile Mexican drug market, have been fighting among themselves in recent months, with analysts saying Lazcano’s death and several other key arrests are likely to further that dissension.
Watch Univision’s report on Lazcano’s death and disappearance, aired Tuesday on Despierta America, below.