Monterrey – A woman suspected of being in charge of the Los Zetas drug cartel's operations in San Nicolas de Los Garza, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, was arrested by marines along with another suspect, the Navy Secretariat said.
Mireya Moreno Carreon is the first woman linked to the Zetas leadership who has been arrested by authorities, the secretariat said.
Moreno Carreon managed drug sales in San Nicolas de Los Garza, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area.
She apparently took over from Raul Garcia Rodriguez, who was arrested by marines last month in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, the secretariat said.
Moreno Carreon was arrested in the Colonia Santa Fe Oriente section of San Nicolas de Los Garza, thanks to "intense intelligence and urban operations work," the Navy Secretariat said.
The suspected drug trafficker was armed with a revolver and driving a stolen vehicle at the time of her arrest, the secretariat said.
Moreno Carreon, who was carrying six cell phones, was transporting a powder suspected of being cocaine and marijuana, the secretariat said.
Jose de Jesus Molina, suspected of providing communications equipment to Los Zetas members, was also arrested in the operation.
Monterrey, Mexico's most important industrial city, and its suburbs have been battered by a wave of drug-related violence since March 2010, when three rival cartels reportedly went to war with Los Zetas, considered the country's most violent criminal organization.
Los Zetas has been battling an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels, known as the Nueva Federacion, for control of the Monterrey metropolitan area and smuggling routes into the United States.
The most brutal incident in the turf war occurred on Aug. 25, when suspected Zetas gunmen set fire to Monterrey's Casino Royale, killing at least 52 gamblers and employees trapped inside, most of whom died of smoke inhalation.
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.