Marines dismantled 15 communications facilities presumed to belong to drug traffickers in Mexico's Veracruz and Tamaulipas states, the Navy Secretariat said Thursday.

Marines "located and eradicated 13 unauthorized communications installations in Cofre de Perote, Veracruz," this month, the secretariat said in a statement.

Five VHF repeaters, two UHF repeaters and two repeater panels were seized along with nine radios and six antennas.

Marines destroyed two communications sites in separate operations in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas that apparently belonged to the Los Zetas drug cartel, the secretariat said.

One of the communications facilities was in a camper that had been abandoned in a vacant lot, where marines spotted a digital UHF repeater that was still operating, the Navy Secretariat said.

An analog repeater antenna was spotted and disconnected by marines on the highway that links the northern cities of Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo, the secretariat said.

Marines dismantled a communications tower on the side of the highway that "measured more than 50 meters (164 feet) in height, making it impossible for new attempts to be made to connect other equipment to broadcast information," the secretariat said.

Los Zetas and the Gulf drug cartel have been battling for control of smuggling routes from Veracruz and Tamaulipas into the United States.

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 more than a decade on the Gulf cartel's payroll, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

The Gulf organization was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s and was later led by Juan Garcia Abrego, who was arrested in 1996 and extradited to the United States.

Osiel Cardenas Guillen later became the Gulf cartel's undisputed boss.

Cardenas was arrested in 2003, but he continued running the Gulf cartel, one of the most violent and powerful criminal organizations in Mexico, until his extradition to the United States four years later. EFE