Mexico City – Two men suspected in the abduction and murders of three marines were arrested in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the Mexican navy said Friday.
Angel Manuel Mora Caberta and Gregorio Maldonado were tracked down thanks to "intelligence work" by the marine detachment in Veracruz, the navy said in a statement.
The men are suspected members of a cell of the Los Zetas drug cartel that kidnapped and killed three marine officers on July 29 in the port city of Veracruz.
Mora Caberta, 25, was the Zetas' chief enforcer in that city and neighboring Boca del Rio and oversaw security for drug shipments, the navy said.
Maldonado and Mora Caberta were arrested in possession of six assault rifles, nearly 600 rounds of ammunition and a small quantity of marijuana.
The suspects were transferred to Mexico City and placed in the custody of the organized-crime division of the Attorney General's Office, the navy statement said.
Veracruz state has been rocked by a violent turf war between Los Zetas and their former partners in the Gulf cartel, a conflict that now appears to have expanded to include a third element: vigilantes.
The self-styled Mata Zetas ("Kill Zetas") group circulated a video suggesting they were behind the recent killings of 35 people whose bodies were found in and around two pick-up trucks abandoned in broad daylight on a busy road in Veracruz.
Investigators found a banner alongside the corpses in which the killers urged people not to allow themselves to be extorted by the cartel anymore and warned other Zetas that they would meet the same fate if they remained in Veracruz.
In the video, the Mata Zetas did not refer directly to the 35 slayings but there were some similarities between the message on the banner and the content of the video.