Mexico Says Drug Lord Taken Down by Accident

October 10, 2012 - 11:35 AM

Mexico Drug War

This undated photo released by Mexico's Attorney General's Office shows alleged Zeta drug cartel leader and founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano in an unknown location. Mexico's Navy says fingerprints confirm that cartel leader Lazcano, an army special forces deserter whose brutal paramilitary tactics helped define the devastating six-year war among Mexico's drug gangs and authorities, was killed Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 in a firefight with marines in the northern state of Coahuila on the border with the Texas. (AP Photo/Mexico Attorney General's Office)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican navy says a team of marines had no idea that they had killed the leader of the country's most-feared drug cartel in a gunfight that erupted when they tried to search a group of suspicious men outside a baseball stadium.

Rear Admiral Jose Luis Vergara is the chief navy spokesman and he said in radio and television interviews Wednesday that Heriberto Lazcano's body was left at a funeral home after Sunday's gunfight because marines believed he was just a common criminal and didn't suspect that had just taken down the leader of the Zetas cartel.

Vergara said authorities only realized they had killed a significant figure when armed men stole the body from the funeral home. Fingerprint testing confirmed the dead man was Lazcano.