A 16-person Zetas drug cartel cell that sold 4,000 doses of cocaine a week was dismantled by authorities in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, security officials said Monday.
The suspects sold the drugs in Monterrey, the state capital, Nuevo Leon Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene said in a press conference.
"The main drug dealing operations conducted by these suspects took place in the areas of Santa Catarina, Apodaca, San Nicolas and Garcia," all cities in the Monterrey metropolitan area, Domene said.
The suspects, who include two women and three minors, confessed that they participated in at least four murders and several kidnappings, Domene said.
The cell's dismantling was made possible by the Sept. 25 arrest of Jose Alonso Guerra Licon, the group's 26-year-old boss, Domene said.
Guerra Licon, who was in possession of crack cocaine and powder cocaine at the time of his arrest, told investigators he worked for Los Zetas and sold "between 3,000 and 4,000 doses of drugs weekly at different sales points in the metropolitan area," the security official said.
The rest of the suspects were arrested by military personnel in operations in Apodaca, Guadalupe and Monterrey.
Authorities seized about 5,700 doses of cocaine with a street value of approximately 500,000 pesos (about $39,000), Domene said.
Los Zetas has been battling the Gulf cartel for control of Nuevo Leon and smuggling routes into the United States.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, the top Los Zetas boss, was killed in a shootout with marines in Coahuila state on Oct. 7.
The shootout that killed Lazcano occurred a day after marines captured Zetas boss Salvador Alfonso Martinez, who allegedly ordered the killings of more than 300 people, including 72 migrants massacred in 2010 in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
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 several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories. EFE