Mexican navy personnel dismantled a communications network used by the Los Zetas drug cartel operating in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and arrested 80 suspected members of the outfit, a senior official said Thursday.

Marines confiscated antennas, two-way radios and seven trailers that served as base stations, navy chief spokesman Jose Luis Vergara Ibarra told a press conference at Las Bajadas naval base in Veracruz city.

That infrastructure provided Los Zetas, regarded as Mexico's most violent cartel, with an "efficient and secure communications network" to carry out activities such as extortion, kidnapping and murder in various regions of the state, Vergara said.

He said the 80 suspected Zetas - 30 of them women - apprehended by naval units in Veracruz over the last month or so were turned over to the organized crime division of the federal Attorney General's Office.

Founded by deserters from an elite special forces unit, Los Zetas began as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel before going into business for themselves in 2010, setting off a bitter conflict with their former employers.

Veracruz state has suffered from an increase in violence amid the growing battle among Los Zetas, the Gulf cartel and other gangs for control of drug-smuggling routes and territories.