“To the shame of some Catholic communities,” the Catholic newsletter Desde la Fe said in October 2010, “there are suspicions that benefactors colluding with drug trafficking have used proceeds from the most dirty and bloody of businesses to help construct a few chapels.”
Neighbors of the church were wary of talking Wednesday.
“You’re not going to get any information around here,” said one man sitting on a stoop.
Adileny Mendez, a young student at a cooking school, voiced doubt about official versions of Lazcano’s fate.
“I don’t think he’s dead. If so, where’s his body? It ought to be lying in wake here,” she said, nodding to the church.
Less than half a mile from the church is the San Francisco Ejidal Cemetery, where earlier this year workers put the finishing touches on its biggest mausoleum, ready to receive the region’s most notorious son.
The mausoleum is the size of a small chapel, with a modern silver cross about two stories tall in the front, similar to the cross in front of the church. Flowerbeds below the mausoleum’s stained-glass windows are well tended.
A watchman said no family members had visited the mausoleum in recent hours, and it remained locked.
If a body is brought there, though, some might still question whether it belongs to Lazcano. For one thing, there is the matter of Lazcano’s height.
On Mexico’s criminal database, Lazcano’s height is listed in meters as 1.6, which would be about 5 foot 3. The DEA website on Lazcano lists him as 5 foot 8. The navy said after the firefight on Sunday that Lazcano’s corpse measured 5 foot 11.
Vergara, the navy spokesman, played down the discrepancy, saying Lazcano joined the army when he was 17 and may have still been growing.
“How good it would be if we could call up criminals and ask: ‘How tall are you? How much do you weigh?’” Vergara said.
He added that the fingerprints taken from the corpse are a match for Lazcano. “On the prints, there is no doubt at all,” he said.