Three brothers suspected of being top Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel bosses were captured by army troops, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said.

Ramon, Rafael and Jesus Alvarez Ayala were detained last Thursday in nearly simultaneous operations staged by the army and police in the western cities of Guadalajara and Zapopan, the secretariat said.

Ramon Alvarez Ayala is suspected of being the cartel's No. 2 man, while Rafael Alvarez Ayala is a top member of the drug trafficking organization, the secretariat said.

Officials confirmed last week that operations were staged in Guadalajara and Zapopan, but they did not immediately confirm the arrests of the suspects detained by the security forces.

Ramon Alvarez Ayala was "the main associate and right-hand man" of top cartel leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, and he was in charge of overseeing the gang's expansion into the central states of Guanajuato and Michoacan, the secretariat said.

Alvarez Ayala controlled drug trafficking in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, the second-largest city in Mexico, and in northern Jalisco, whose capital is Guadalajara.

He was the subject of two arrest warrants on organized crime charges and was a target in four investigations being conducted by the SIEDO organized crime unit of the federal Attorney General's Office.

Rafael Alvarez Ayala, for his part, ran the cartel's cells in Jalisco and provided vehicles used in criminal activities, the secretariat said.

The two brothers told investigators that they smuggled synthetic drugs into the United States, the Defense Secretariat said.

Rafael Alvarez Ayala faces a number of charges and is a target in two investigations being carried out by SIEDO, the secretariat said in a statement.

Ramon Alvarez Ayala was arrested at a safe house in the Providencia district of Guadalajara, while Rafael and Jesus were detained at their home in Zapopan, a city in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, the secretariat said.

The Federal Police and army have stepped up their operations in the past few weeks against the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, targeting the criminal organization's leaders.

The Jalisco Nueva Generacion organization was created following the death of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a top Sinaloa drug cartel boss killed by the army in 2010.

Jalisco Nueva Generacion has been fighting Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel, for control of smuggling routes into the United States. EFE