Martin Padua Zuñiga, a member of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, was detained early Wednesday at a house where several gunmen had taken shelter during a shootout with army troops, the secretariat said in a statement.
The house is in the Centro district of Minatitlan, a city in southern Veracruz.
The shootout began Tuesday night when army troops tried to search the occupants of an SUV and were met with gunfire.
Soldiers returned fire, triggering an intense shootout in downtown Minatitlan, a petroleum industry center, the secretariat said.
Three of the suspects were arrested and the others took shelter in a house and continued the firefight with the soldiers.
Soldiers eventually managed to storm the house and arrest the suspects, including the mayor, the secretariat said.
Jose Carmen Fragoso Martinez, suspected of being the Los Zetas cartel’s boss in southern Veracruz, and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a suspected cartel money man, were among those arrested by the army, the secretariat said.
Four rifles, four handguns, three grenades, ammunition clips, ammunition, cash, communications equipment, drugs, documents and eight vehicles were seized from the suspects.
Mauricio Herrera Fernandez, the PAN mayor of the Veracruz city of Las Minas, was arrested by the Federal Police in early March on drug and arms charges.
Federal security forces have been fighting drug traffickers and other organized crime groups in the Gulf state under “Operation Safe Veracruz.”
Several Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel members were detained last week in separate operations staged by marines in Veracruz.
Noe Humberto Hernandez, suspected of being the cartel’s boss in the Gulf port of Veracruz and in neighboring Boca del Rio, was arrested in one of the operations staged by marines.
“Operation Safe Veracruz,” which was launched last October and focused on the Veracruz-Boca del Rio region, has helped reduce the crime rate, Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte said earlier this month.
President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state’s murder rate skyrocketing.
Residents of Veracruz city were stunned on Sept. 20 by the discovery of 35 bodies dumped on a busy thoroughfare.
A week later, 32 bodies were found at three drug-gang “safe houses” in the Veracruz-Boca del Rio metro area.
The Gulf, Los Zetas and relatively new Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in Veracruz, which is Mexico’s third-most populous state and coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.