Zetas drug cartel leader ‘may be dead’
MEXICO CITY - The Associated PressTop Zetas drug cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano has apparently been killed in a firefight with marines in the northern border state of Coahuila, the Mexican navy said late Oct. 8.
If confirmed, Lazcano’s death would mark a huge victory for Mexican law enforcement, and mark the end of a founder of one of the world’s bloodiest cartels. The navy said there were “strong indications” the body of one of two men killed in the shootout was Lazcano. But it added that more forensics tests would have to be carried out.
The Zetas cartel that he helped found with other deserters from an elite army unit went on to carry out some of Mexico’s bloodiest massacres, biggest jail breaks and fiercest attacks on authorities. Lazcano, who is also known as “El Verdugo” (the Executioner) for his brutality, is suspected in hundreds of killings, including the June 2004 slaying of Francisco Ortiz Franco, a top editor of a crusading weekly newspaper in Tijuana that often reported on drug trafficking. The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward and Mexico an additional $2.3 million for information leading to Lazcano’s arrest.