A juvenile court in the central Mexican state of Morelos has sentenced a 14-year-old known as the "boy hit man" to three years in prison for murder and other crimes.

U.S.-born Edgar Jimenez Lugo, alias "El Ponchis" (The Cloak), who was arrested last December at the airport in Xochitepec, Morelos, while trying to catch a flight to the United States, had confessed to decapitating four people at the orders of a crime boss.

The teenager was sentenced "for organized-crime activity, homicide, possession of weapons intended for the exclusive use of the army, kidnapping and marijuana and cocaine possession," court spokesman Juan Carlos Castro told reporters Tuesday.

The sentence was the maximum allowable for a minor under Morelos state law.

Jimenez's defense attorney "did not present any evidence at this time, nor any witness who would testify to his innocence," the spokesman said.

He added that the sentence will be effective from the date of Jimenez's arrest and therefore the teenager "will only remain for another two-and-a-half years" at the youth facility where he had been held pending sentencing.

After his arrest, Jimenez confessed to murdering four people, but said he had been ordered to do so by Pacifico Sur cartel chief Julio de Jesus Radilla, alias "El Negro."

"I killed four people. I decapitated them. I felt terrible doing it (but) they forced me. They said if I didn't do it they were going to kill me. I only decapitated them. I never hung any bodies from bridges, never," Jimenez reportedly told prosecutors.

The Pacifico Sur cartel is based in Morelos, a state bordering the Mexican capital that has been rocked by turf wars among rival drug gangs and clashes between cartel enforcers and military personnel.

The state capital, Cuernavaca, was the scene of a dramatic December 2009 gun battle that ended with the death of kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva.

Authorities say Jimenez worked for the Pacifico Sur cartel, which emerged from a split within the Beltran Leyva mob.