Soldiers arrested six drug-cartel enforcers and seized an arms cache in the western state of Michoacan, Mexican authorities said Friday.

Troops assigned to the 21st Military Zone were on patrol in the pre-dawn hours when they encountered the gunmen traveling in an SUV through a wooded area, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The gunmen opened fire on the soldiers, wounding one of them, but were significantly outnumbered and finally forced to surrender.

Inside the SUV, the troops found 24 assault rifles, two handguns, a grenade-launcher, three grenades and 5,700 rounds of ammunition, the AG's office said.

The gunmen were also in possession of uniforms similar to those worn by the army.

The AG's office said the men in custody worked for La Familia Michoacana, until March 2011 the dominant drug-trafficking organization in Michoacan.

Since then, however, La Familia has been locked in a bitter fight with a splinter group that calls itself Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar).

Possessing more than 270 kilometers (168 miles) of Pacific coastline, Michoacan also has forests and mountain areas that provide perfect cover for drug production and smuggling.

Illegal drugs are smuggled from Central America into Michoacan and then later moved into the United States. EFE