Photo: Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano
Sources outside of law enforcement have confirmed that Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano , the leader of the Zetas, was killed Friday in a firefight with rival Gulf Cartel.
The Mexico Defense Ministry has disputed the claim.
Born on Christmas Day 1974, Lazcano was one of the founding members of the Zetas, founded by elite Mexican army soldiers who defected to side with the Gulf Cartel.
The Gulf Cartel employed the Zetas as their mercenary enforcement arm for years.
The latter group gradually gained power, and the friends turned foes in February 2010, when the alliance dissolved. The split sent much of Northeast Mexico into disarray as the two drug trafficking organizations struggled to control territory, including prized smuggling routes into South Texas.
U.S. prosecutors named Lazcano, also known as “El Verdugo,” Spanish for executioner, as one of several kingpins of the Zetas and Gulf Cartel in a June 2009 indictment filed in U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia. Beyond outlining the operation of the then allied force, known as “The Company,” prosecutors allege Lazcano took part in trafficking a 13-ton load of cocaine from Colombian suppliers into Mexico in 2007.