[Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy (SEMAR) is reporting that Heriberto Lazcano, founder and leader of Los Zetas has been killed in a firefight in the city of Sabinas Coahuila on Sunday afternoon.
The navy said there was strong evidence the body of one of two men killed in the shootout was Lazcano, known as “El Lazca.” But it added that more forensics tests would have to be carried out to confirm the identification.
It started Sunday afternoon as Lazcano and two other Zetas were watching a baseball game when Mexican Naval units arrived at the ball park, apparently being tipped off by one of the spectators.
The United States has had a standing reward for Lazcano of $5 million dollars for information leading to his capture. Mexico has offered $24.6 million pesos (about $2 million US).
A chase ensued in which the occupants of a white Ford Ranger pickup fired on the naval forces with rifles and rocket propelled grenades, injuring one naval marine and killing two of the Zetas. The third man managed to escape.
Found at the scene were various weapons including AK-47’s and AR-15’s, 13 grenades and a rocket launcher with missiles capable of shooting down a helicopter.
We’ll keep you updated on this developing story. By all accounts, the leader of the Zetas has been taken out but I’m still awaiting more official confirmation from sources within the Mexican government.
Social media is alive with this story and surprisingly, most are in agreement. In one weird twist, it is being reported that the body of Lazcano, after being autopsied by a local funeral home in Sabinas, was taken from the facility by persons unknown and has disappeared.
According to CNN;
Lazcano, 37, joined the Mexican armed forces in 1991 and was part of its elite airborne special forces group, dedicated to battling drug cartels.
Soon after, Lazcano and several other special forces members were recruited by the Gulf cartel to create its enforcement arm, Los Zetas.
In the ensuing years, the Zetas split into their own major drug trafficking organization, and have since branched out into extortion, kidnapping and human smuggling.
The Zetas are in the midst of a bloody turf war with their former employer, the Gulf cartel, and also with the Sinaloa cartel. The fight for access to lucrative smuggling routes in northern and central Mexico has left thousands of civilians dead.
The violence is particularly acute in three northeastern states that are some of the Zetas’ strongest-held territory: Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
In May, authorities found 49 decapitated and dismembered bodies along a highway in Nuevo Leon. The orders to commit the grisly crime allegedly came from Lazcano himself, who originally wanted the bodies to be left in a town’s central square.
“100 percent Zeta” was painted in black graffiti on a wall at the entrance of a nearby town, indicating Mexico’s paramilitary-trained cartel had committed another atrocity on a stunningly large scale.
But days after the bodies turned up, new banners turned up hanging in locations throughout the country, purportedly from the Zetas, claiming that the notoriously ruthless cartel had nothing to do with the gruesome crime.
Last year, the bodies of 72 migrants from Central and South America were discovered at a ranch in Tamaulipas state.
The Zetas have been blamed for the mass graves and for the deaths of the migrants.
UPDATED 10/09/2012 @ 11:44
Photos have been released taken by the funeral director in Sabinas of the corpse thought to be and confirmed by SEMAR to be that of Heriberto Lazcano.
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.