Fingerprints confirm that cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano, an army special forces deserter whose brutal paramilitary tactics helped define the devastating six-year war among Mexico’s drug gangs and authorities, was killed in a firefight with marines in a State on the border with the Texas, the Mexican Navy said on Tuesday.
Reports in several Mexican newspapers that cite unnamed sources as saying the body has since disappeared.
The U.S Drug Enforcement Agency said it was still awaiting confirmation that one of Mexico’s most feared drug lords had been slain.
Lazcano’s death is one of the most significant victories in Mexico’s militarised battle with organised crime two months before the man who sharply expanded it, President Felipe Calderon, leaves office. Lazcano was credited with bringing military tactics and training to the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, then splitting from his former bosses and turning the Zetas into one of the country’s two most potent cartels, with a penchant for headline-grabbing atrocities and control of territory stretching along the U.S. border and at least as far south as Guatemala.