The Federal Police seized about 210,000 liters (55,479 gallons) of gasoline presumed to be stolen and arrested a suspected member of the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel in the western state of Michoacan, the Mexican National Security Commission said.

Officers arrested 26-year-old Marco Antonio Alvarado, who was guarding the site being used to store the fuel, the commission said in a statement.

Federal Police officers found eight vehicles, including several trailers, and numerous plastic containers filled with gasoline at the site, the commission said.

The vehicles were equipped with makeshift tanks that held about 135,000 liters (35,665 gallons) of gasoline, with the rest of the fuel stored in plastic containers.

A Federal Police patrol, meanwhile, arrested an armed man who confessed to being a Caballeros Templarios member and offered the officers a bribe of "1 million pesos ($72,400) to avoid arrest," the commission said.

The suspect, identified as Samuel Diaz Benitez, was driving a brand new SUV and carrying a rifle, an ammunition clip and 59 rounds of ammunition.

The 32-year-old Diaz Benitez told officers he smuggled drugs into the United States and received his orders from cartel boss Enrique Plancarte Solís.

Plancarte Solis shares the Caballeros Templarios cartel's leadership with Servando Gomez Martinez.

The federal government deployed soldiers and police in Michoacan on Jan. 13 in an effort to end the wave of drug-related violence in the state.

Dionisio Loya Plancarte, one of the cartel's top leaders, was arrested by federal forces in late January.

Caballeros Templarios boss Nazario Moreno Gonzalez died in a shootout with soldiers on March 9 near Tumbiscatio, a city in Michoacan.

Moreno and other members of the Familia Michoacana gang formed the Caballeros Templarios organization after he was reported killed by the government in 2010.

The Caballeros Templarios cartel, which deals in both synthetic and natural drugs, commits murders, stages kidnappings and runs extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies in Michoacan.

The cartel uses Michoacan's 270 kilometers (168 miles) of coastline to smuggle chemical drug precursors for the production of synthetic drugs into Mexico.

Civilians began arming themselves last year to fight the gang, which operates across Michoacan. EFE