The Mexican army announced Friday the arrest of the Sinaloa drug cartel's top operator in the northern state of Sonora.

Manuel de Jesus Palma Morquecho was apprehended Thursday in the town of Agua Prieta, just across the border from Douglas, Arizona, the military said in a statement.

Palma oversaw the smuggling of drugs into the United States and was the cartel's paymaster in Sonora, according to the army.

Soldiers seized three rifles, two handguns and ammunition from the suspect, as well as a vehicle and an unspecified amount of cash, the statement said.

The Sinaloa cartel is regarded as Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking outfit. Its leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, appears on the Forbes magazine list of the world's wealthiest individuals, with a fortune estimated at $1 billion.

Guzman remains at large more than a decade after he escaped from a maximum security prison.