Army troops found 50 assault rifles, ammunition and other weapons in an abandoned vehicle in northern Mexico, the Defense Secretariat said.
Soldiers seized 40 AK-47 assault rifles, nine AR-15 assault rifles and an M-16 assault rifle, as well as a grenade launcher and more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition, the secretariat said.
The arms and ammunition were found Tuesday in San Juan de Sabinas, a city in the border state of Coahuila, inside an abandoned gas tanker, the secretariat said.
Coahuila is one of the areas where Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, operates.
Los Zetas was founded in 1999 by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” and three other army deserters, all members of an elite special operations unit.
The criminal organization started out as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two gangs later had a falling out.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
Mexico’s drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to Sept. 30.
The murder total has grown every year of Calderon’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels.
Unofficial tallies published in December by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at more than 50,000.