Fugitive Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” was identified by fingerprints from one of the criminals killed in the fight in Coahuila state, which borders Texas, the Navy said today in an e-mail that included photos of the body. The Zetas have perpetrated some of the most violent crimes in Mexico’s six-year war against cartels, including the mass execution of 72 migrants and a casino fire that killed 52. Authorities are looking for additional ways to corroborate Lazcano’s identity after the corpses of the two suspects killed in the shootout were stolen from a funeral home by armed commandos in a raid after midnight Oct. 8, said Homero Ramos, the state prosecutor.
“It’s a very bizarre situation, so it will raise questions in some people’s minds about what really happened,” said Eric Olson, associate director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. While a significant blow for the Zetas, Lazcano’s death may lead to more violence in the short-term as the remnants of the group “fight for their own survival and control,” he said.