Mexican marines have apparently killed the leader of the brutal Zetas drug gang. Heriberto Lazcano was a onetime Special Forces soldier who became one of the founding members of the Zetas. The cartel has seen several blows to the organization as a major crackdown continues on organized crime in Mexico, but now Lazcano's body is missing and U.S. officials are slow to acknowledge his death.
Mexican marines say Heriberto Lazcano was killed in a shootout in Northern Mexico, about 130 miles from the Texas border on Sunday, October 7th. Photos were released of Lazcano’s body in the morgue with no apparent signs of trauma, and his body later stolen by armed gunmen. Coahuila State Attorney, Homero Ramos, said, “Between one and one-thirty in the morning, a group of heavily armed men wearing masks arrived [at the funeral home] and subdued its personnel. They took the bodies, put them in a hearse and left the facility, forcing the owner to drive the vehicle.” Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, is slow to confirm the death saying, “I've only read about that. I'm not, only read about what I've seen in the media. If, in fact, that is true, that is a very significant accomplishment.”
Earlier in the week, Mexican authorities captured a man they call 'The Squirrel' who is tied to numerous killings and prison breaks across Mexico. Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was presented to the media, accused of being a regional leader for the Zetas and also suspected in the 2010 Falcon Lake killing of American David Hartley. These latest developments come after another Zeta leader, Ivan Velasquez Caballero, known as 'El Taliban' was captured in September. Holder goes on to say this latest blow to the cartel, the death of Lazcano, would certainly be significant. He said, “The Zetas are a particularly violent group even as drug cartels go and to, to have, to eliminate the head of that organization would be a very significant event, if, in fact, it's true.”
The Mexican Navy say they used fingerprint tests to confirm Lazcano's identity. So far, he's the biggest kingpin to fall in Mexico's drug war. U.S. authorities had offered a reward of up to five million dollars for his capture.