Mexican marines arrested 30 suspected Gulf drug cartel members in different operations this week in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the Navy Secretariat said.
The suspects were paraded before reporters on Wednesday.
The arrests were made possible by the efforts of naval intelligence officers and information received from the Center for Intelligence and National Security, or Cisen, the Navy Secretariat said.
The operations launched by marines are designed to dismantle criminal organizations, the secretariat said.
“Several operations were conducted that yielded the arrests of 30 suspects involved in the commission of illicit activities, as well as the (seizure) of arms, materiel and cash,” the Navy Secretariat said.
Marines seized two vehicles, 43 rifles, 10 handguns, two rocket launchers, a rocket, 318 ammunition clips, 21 hand grenades, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, 10 bullet-proof helmets, six bullet-proof vests, 44 Gulf cartel emblems, communications gear and military uniforms.
The suspects and the property seized in the operations were handed over to prosecutors.
Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations, according to experts, are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Los Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartels, and La Familia Michoacana.
The Gulf cartel was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s and later led by Juan Garcia Abrego, who was arrested in 1996 and extradited to the United States.
Osiel Cardenas Guillen later became the Gulf cartel’s undisputed boss.
Cardenas was arrested in 2003, but he continued running the Gulf cartel, one of the most violent and powerful criminal organizations in Mexico, until his extradition to the United States four years later.
The Gulf cartel has been waging a war in northeastern Mexico against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.