Authorities in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz reported Saturday the deaths of nine members of organized crime during the past 48 hours, all in incidents linked to the killing of a regional kingpin of the Los Zetas drug cartel.

Official reports confirmed that on Thursday, armed criminals engaged in a shootout with army soldiers and navy troops in the mountainous Cordoba municipality of central Veracruz.

The military gunned down five suspected drug traffickers in the clash, including Angel Enrique Uscanga Marin, alias "El Pokemon," identified as the leader of Los Zetas in the region.

On Friday night another armed group tried to recover the body of the regional kingpin, for whom a vigil was being held at a local undertaker's, but the criminals were driven off by navy units.

According to a communique from the state Attorney General's Office, during the unsuccessful attempt to make off with the body, four gunmen were slain by the military.

In recent years the state of Veracruz has been the scene of territorial wars among drug cartels, who at the same time have been under intense attacks by military forces, which launched a special operation dubbed Veracruz Secure in October 2011 in coordination with the state government. EFE