Mexican navy personnel apprehended a reputed lieutenant of a senior figure in the Sinaloa drug cartel, police sources told Efe.

Jesus Peña, thought to be a top enforcer for the cartel, was arrested at a home in Culiacan, capital of the western state of Sinaloa.

Investigators say it appears Peña became chief of security for cartel No. 2 Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada following the arrest in December of Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, who was detained in the Amsterdam airport on a U.S. warrant.

Peña was one of three drug suspects captured in Culiacan over a 48-hour period, Mexican federal security forces said in a joint statement.

The 43-year-old Peña was found in possession of military-issue weapons, communications equipment and quantities of cocaine and marijuana, the statement said.

The other two suspects were nabbed with a rifle, 11 handguns, a grenade, 17 two-way radios, four vehicles and illegal drugs.

Federal forces also seized 14 armored SUVs, a motorcycle, a "cloned" police patrol vehicle, ammunition and drugs in a raid on a car dealership in Culiacan, according to the statement.

The Sinaloa cartel is generally regarded as Mexico's most powerful criminal organization, while its fugitive boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, regularly appears on the Forbes magazine list of global billionaires. EFE