UPDATE: The coroner's office in Guadalajara Jalisco reported that on Monday the bodies of Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel and a nephew were turned over to families members who had claim them.
A woman who identified herself as a relative tried to claim the bodies of Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a top Sinaloa drug cartel boss killed last week in the western state of Jalisco, and his nephew, Mario Carrasco Coronel, Mexican officials said.
The woman, who said she was the drug lord’s sister, and her attorney went to the coroner’s office in Guadalajara around 4:00 p.m. Sunday and tried to claim the bodies.
The two drug traffickers were killed in separate gunfights last week at their Guadalajara residences with army troops sent to capture them.
The woman identified herself as Coronel’s sister and gave a statement to police while two hearses waited outside the coroner’s office to transport the bodies.
The woman was at the coroner’s office for six hours but left without the bodies.
Federal prosecutors asked the woman to provide photographic proof that establishes her family links, the funeral home director said, adding that she may try again on Monday.
About 50 soldiers were posted at the coroner’s office during the evening Sunday to prevent cartel members from taking the bodies.
Some 100 soldiers took part in the operation to transport Coronel’s body to the coroner’s office last week.
Coronel, considered one of the three most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, was killed in a clash with army troops on Thursday.
The drug lord killed one soldier and wounded another while trying to evade arrest before being gunned down by military personnel.
A close associate of Coronel’s, Hiram Francisco Quiñones Gastelum, was arrested in the operation.
The drug trafficker had two residences in Guadalajara that he used as operations bases.
He was one of the senior leaders of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, the army said.
Coronel, originally from the northwestern state of Durango, was groomed in the narcotics trade by Juarez cartel boss Amado Carrillo Fuentes, a notorious capo who was known as “the lord of the skies” for the fleet of aircraft he employed to transport drugs and who died in 1997 from complications from plastic surgery to conceal his identity.
After Carrillo’s death, according to Defense Secretariat records, Coronel joined the Sinaloa outfit and eventually rose to become one of its top leaders.
The Mexican government had offered a 30-million-peso ($2.3 million) reward for information leading to his capture, while the United States had offered $5 million.
The 56-year-old Coronel allegedly ran the Sinaloa organization’s cocaine trafficking operations in the Pacific coast states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and Michoacan.
Coronel’s nephew, considered by many a potential successor, was killed on Friday in Guadalajara’s Rinconada de los Novelistas neighborhood.
Quiñones Gastelum, who was armed with an AK-47, surrendered to army troops and admitted that he worked for Coronel.
The suspect has given a statement to prosecutors, the AG’s office said.
The Mexican government has come under criticism for allegedly favoring the Sinaloa cartel, with a recent U.S. media report claiming it helped the criminal organization take over the violent northern border city of Ciudad Juarez.
President Felipe Calderon’s government, however, has consistently maintained that it fights all criminal organizations with equal intensity.
The Sinaloa and Beltran Leyva cartels, as well as the Gulf and Zetas gangs, are the main criminal organizations responsible for a wave of violence that has rocked Mexico since Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against drug traffickers in December 2006.
Mexico’s war on drugs has claimed the lives of 25,000 people in the past four years.
UPDATE: A bullet in the chest reached the abdomen the eventually killed capo Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, reported the Forensic Medical Service of Jalisco (Semefo). "Nacho" Ignacio Coronel, 46, died of gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen," explained the Semefo in a statement. At the same time officials of Semefo also confirmed that at 1455 hours on Monday, María Eduviges Coronel Villarreal, a 48-year-old sister of El Nacho, was present to claim the body of the capo.
It was also reported that Mario Carrasco Coronel, 31-year-old nephew of Nacho Coronel, also died of "gunshot wound to his chest."