In life, Heriberto “The Executioner” Lazcano, leader of the notoriously brutal Zetas drug cartel, had been an elusive figure, dodging Mexican authorities for years until his recent demise in a gunfight with marines.
Even in death, The Executioner is back to his old tricks: His body disappeared from a funeral parlor less than 24 hours after being gunned down on Sunday.
Mexican officials reported that the body had been stolen by an armed commando unit, suggesting that the raid was conducted by the Zetas, which had been formed by a group of deserters from the Mexican Army's special forces.
Outgoing President Felipe Calderon doled out high praise for the navy operation that knocked off Lazcano, though he was mum on the fact that the body had been stolen.
“With this, Mexico has neutralized, during my government, 25 out of 37 of the most wanted criminals in the country,” Calderon said, BBC reported.
Although authorities claim they already had enough information to positively identify the body, the deceased Lazcano’s disappearing act will no doubt fuel skepticism among the general public, and it has already caused officials to blush with embarrassment at a time when they had expected to be patting themselves on the back while parading the capo’s corpse throughout the unabashedly sensational Mexican media.
What’s more, the masked gunmen didn’t just take Lazcano’s body, they stole a hearse and the undertaker with it, too, forcing him to drive their getaway vehicle. Luckily for him, he was later released.
“The owner of the Garcia funeral home called us at 8:05 a.m. [Monday] to say that at about 1 or 1:30 a.m., an armed commando unit, faces covered and well-guarded, showed up, overpowered the personnel and took away the bodies in a hearse from the funeral home, forcing the owner to drive it,” Coahuila state prosecutor Homero Ramos said in a press conference, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Questions remain about the lack of security at the funeral home where Lazcano’s body was being kept, but authorities’ aren’t likely to be forthcoming about this blunder. If they thought a dead man wasn’t going anywhere, they were sorely mistaken.