MEXICO CITY – Authorities are seeking permits to exhume the remains of drug lord Heriberto Lazcano's parents to obtain material for DNA testing to convince the public beyond doubt that he is dead, Mexico's top anti-drug prosecutor said Wednesday.
Lazcano's body was stolen by a team of armed, masked men from a funeral home in northern Coahuila state on Oct. 8, hours after he was killed by Mexican marines, according to officials.
Mexico's navy says Lazcano's body was identified through fingerprints before the corpse was taken. Local prosecutors have said they did not know the body was Lazcano's until after it was stolen.
Prosecutor Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas said Lazcano's parents died years ago and are buried in central Hidalgo state.
"Unfortunately, both parents died many years ago, and that complicates things," Salinas said.
He did not say what sample from Lazcano's body would be used for comparison, but an autopsy was performed before the body was taken and officials apparently saved blood or bloody clothing.
Lazcano was one of the most-wanted drug traffickers in Mexico and the U.S. for years.
He was a former member of the Mexican army special forces who went on to lead a band of assassins he originally called "The Company" and later the Zetas, named for the radio code given to high-ranking officers.
They initially worked for the Gulf Cartel, which dominated drug trafficking along Mexico's northeastern border with Texas. But the two groups split in 2010, leading to an unprecedented escalation in drug violence in that region.
Lazcano was personally responsible for hundreds of murders, according to the Mexican government, and led an organization responsible for some of the country's most shocking atrocities and mass killings. Those include the deaths of 52 casino gamblers and workers in an extortion fire last year in the northern city of Monterrey and the slaughter of 72 migrants in the border state of Tamaulipas in 2010.