Mexican drug cartel leader's body stolen by gunmen

The body of one of Mexico's most feared drug lords was stolen from a funeral home by a group of armed men, according to a state prosecutor.

WARNING: This story contains a graphic image

The body of one of Mexico's most feared drug lords was stolen from a funeral home by a group of armed men, according to a state prosecutor.

The body theft occurred a day after Zetas head Heriberto Lazcano was fatally shot in a gunfight with Mexico's marines.   Coahuila Attorney General Homero Ramos said two men were killed by marines Sunday outside a baseball game in the town of Progreso.

He said the fingerprints of one man matched the records of Lazcano, an army special forces deserter whose brutal paramilitary tactics helped define the devastating six-year war among Mexico's drug gangs and authorities.  

Early Monday morning, Ramos said, a group of armed men raided the funeral home where the bodies were kept, and stole both corpses.  

The U.S Drug Enforcement Agency said it was still awaiting confirmation that one of Mexico's most feared drug lords had been slain.

Lazcano's death is one of the most significant victories in Mexico's militarized battle with organized crime two months before the man who sharply expanded it, President Felipe Calderon, leaves office.

Fierce battle for territory

This photo released by the Mexican navy on Tuesday allegedly shows the body of Zeta drug cartel leader and founder Heriberto Lazcano while in the possession of Mexico's Medical Forensic Service in Sabinas, Mexico. (Mexican navy/Associated Press)

Lazcano was credited with bringing military tactics and training to the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, then splitting from his former bosses and turning the Zetas into one of the country's two most potent cartels, with a penchant for headline-grabbing atrocities and control of territory stretching along the U.S. border and at least as far south as Guatemala.

Most recently, the Zetas were linked to the assassination of the nephew of the governor of Coahuila last week, a slaying that prompted the federal government to dispatch additional troops, federal police and criminal investigators to the state.

The death also appears to help Mexico's most-wanted man and the Zetas' bitterest enemy, Sinaloa cartel head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who has been waging a vicious battle with the Zetas for territory along the U.S. border and other parts of Mexico.

Mexican authorities have announced a string of arrests of high-profile Zetas figures in recent months. Such captures often lead authorities to higher-ranking figures.

The Zetas, which Lazcano helped found with other deserters from an elite army unit, have carried out some of Mexico's bloodiest massacres, biggest jail breaks and fiercest attacks on authorities.