Mexican gang steals corpse of slain drug lord

Mexico City

The corpse of one of Mexico's most feared drug lords, Heriberto Lazcano, was stolen from a funeral home by an armed group a day after he was killed in a gunfight with marines. The body was being stored in northern Mexico following a shootout in the border state of Coahuila on Sunday.

Homero Ramos, the attorney general of Coahuila, said two men were killed by marines outside a baseball game in Progreso and confirmed that the fingerprints of one man matched the records of Lazcano, leader of the notorious Zetas drug cartel. Mr Ramos said the armed men raided the funeral home early on Monday and stole both corpses.

The Zetas cartel, which Lazcano helped found with other deserters from an elite army unit, has carried out some of Mexico's bloodiest massacres, biggest jail breaks and fiercest attacks on authorities.

Lazcano, who is known as "El Verdugo" (the Executioner) for his brutality, is suspected of being behind hundreds of killings, including the June 2004 slaying of Francisco Ortiz Franco, the editor of a crusading weekly newspaper in Tijuana that often reported on drug trafficking.

The cartel was also linked to the assassination of the nephew of the governor of Coahuila last week.

The death of Lazcano follows a string of arrests of high-profile Zetas figures in recent months.

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