Five enforcers for the Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested this week in the central state of Durango, Mexico's federal Public Safety Department said Wednesday.

Juan David Alejandro Mendez Arizpe, 25, and Sergio Gael Rosales Palacios, 18, are accused of organizing kidnappings and murders on behalf of the cartel.

The other three suspects: Juan Manuel Hernandez Reyes, Miguel Angel Contreras Carrillo and Paulino Najera Valadez, are charged as accomplices, the department said in a statement.

The group targeted members of rival drug trafficking organizations, according to the statement.

The five men were apprehended near Ciudad Lerdo, Durango, and police also seized three assault rifles, ammunition and four vehicles, the Public Safety Department said.

Conflict among rival cartels and between criminals and the security forces has claimed more than 50,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon - whose term ends in December - militarized the struggle against drug trafficking. EFE