10 Oct 2012

Mexican drug lord's body stolen

10:34 pm on 10 October 2012

An armed gang has stolen the body of a Mexican drug cartel leader killed in a shootout with marines.

Heriberto Lazcano founded the brutal Los Zetas gang, which controls key drug-trafficking routes in north-eastern Mexico.

Mr Lazcano, also known as "The Executioner", was killed in a gun battle with marines in Progreso in Coahuila state on Sunday, the BBC reports.

The Mexican navy confirmed his identity with fingerprints and photographs before handing his body over to local authorities in Coahuila. His corpse was later stolen by the gang from a funeral home.

Lazcano was suspected of involvement in hundreds of killings, including that of crusading newspaper editor Francisco Ortiz Franco in 2004.

The Untied States had put up a $US5 million reward and Mexico another $US2.3 million for information leading to his capture.

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