Mexico City – Five suspected members of the Los Zetas drug cartel were arrested by marines in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, while a separate operation netted 200 kilos of cocaine in neighboring Nuevo Leon state, the Navy Secretariat said Thursday.
Javier Eduardo Saravia, 25, Juan Bautista Mata, 33, Juan Alberto Aldana, 18, Benjamin Hidalgo, 19, and Omar Guadalupe Hernandez, 26, were arrested on Wednesday near the town of Villa Union, the secretariat said.
The suspects were arrested during a vehicle inspection at a checkpoint and did not offer any resistance.
The men led marines to an SUV loaded with 204 rifles, 11 handguns, 29,621 rounds of ammunition, 15 grenades and 778 ammunition clips.
Marines found 563 items of military-style clothing in plastic bags in an abandoned building located nearby.
Two abandoned trucks loaded with 200 kilos of cocaine, meanwhile, were found on the highway that links Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, to Saltillo, but no arrests were made, the secretariat said.
The trucks had secret compartments containing a total of 185 packages of cocaine.
Marines seized one ton of cocaine in an operation on May 25 in Nuevo Leon.
The northern state has been dealing with a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
More than 1,100 people, including about 80 police officers, have died in the violence in Nuevo Leon in the past year.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.