Mexico bid to exhume Zetas chief Heriberto Lazcano's parents

File picture of Heriberto Lazcano Heriberto Lazcano was suspected of involvement in hundreds of killings

Mexican authorities are seeking to exhume the remains of a drug lord's parents to obtain DNA and convince the public that he is dead.

Officials said Heriberto Lazcano, founder of the Los Zetas gang, was killed in a shootout with marines earlier this month.

However, within hours his body was stolen from a funeral parlour.

The Mexican navy said initial tests showed the man killed was Lazcano but they now want DNA to confirm it.

Cuitlahuac Salinas, head of Mexico's organised crime unit, told reporters they had decided on the drastic step after failing to obtain DNA material from Lazcano's sisters.

"We have located where his parents were buried (in the south-eastern state of Hidalgo) and we are now trying to get permission to begin the exhumation, in order to ascertain their genetic profile," he said.

Lazcano - known as "The Executioner" - was a founder of Los Zetas which has been involved in a string of mass killings and kidnappings.

Officials said his body was whisked away from a funeral home by gunmen hours after a gun battle in the northern region of Progreso, Coahuila state.

The navy said it was not until after his body and that of another gang member were stolen that officials realised from pictures and fingerprints they had killed one of the country's most feared drug lords.

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon has already praised marines for killing Lazcano.

However, correspondents say the theft of the corpse has been an embarrassment for the government and military.

The US had put up a reward of $5m (£3.1m) - and Mexico another $2.3m - for information leading to the Lazcano's capture.

Mexican police believe a split within the Zetas cartel is responsible for a recent surge in mass killings.

Lazcano was thought to be the leader of one faction, while the other is led by Miguel Angel Trevino Morales.

Mexico drug cartels map 2010-11
Mexico drug cartels map
Mexico drug cartels map
Map showing areas of influence of Mexican drug cartels
Drug routes

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