Mexico City – Marines arrested 13 suspected Zetas drug cartel members, including a man who allegedly killed a marine, in Veracruz, a state in eastern Mexico, the Navy Secretariat said Monday.
The arrests were made Friday by marines acting on an anonymous tip that two SUVs were being "guarded by heavily armed people" in the town of San Julian Veracruz, the secretariat said.
The marines surrounded the suspects, who surrendered without firing a shot.
Marines seized 12 rifles, a grenade launcher, 25 grenades, 17 ammunition clips, 2,035 rounds of ammunition, 24 computers, 1,800 doses of marijuana, 2,000 doses of crack cocaine and 1,000 doses of cocaine from the suspects, the secretariat said.
The suspects confessed that they belonged to Los Zetas and told investigators they trafficked drugs in Veracruz, smuggled migrants, staged kidnappings and ran extortion rackets, all of which are considered the cartel's main criminal activities, the secretariat said.
One of the suspects, Hector Tejeda Vazquez, killed a marine whose body was found in June in Playa de Vaca, the secretariat said.
The suspects were handed over to the Attorney General's Office and taken to Mexico City.
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.