Mexican marines detained five suspected members of the Zetas drug cartel this week and seized more than $1.6 million in cash, the Navy Secretariat said in a statement.
The arrests in Mexico City and in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz were the result of intelligence gathering and several operations conducted in recent days, the statement said.
Rafael Antonio Medina Rea and Ricardo Fuyivara Romero were detained Tuesday in this capital in possession of a suitcase with $880,000 in cash, as well as a handgun and a grenade.
The military personnel also detained suspected Zeta Jesus Rosas Ibarra on Wednesday in Mexico City and confiscated a box inside his vehicle with $730,890 in cash, as well as a handgun and another grenade.
According to the statement, authorities suspect Rosas Ibarra of serving since 2008 as a money manager for Los Zetas, a criminal gang notorious for its brutality.
Rosas Ibarra told authorities the two men detained Tuesday in the capital worked with him and were involved in transporting ill-gotten cash in hidden vehicle compartments.
The secretariat also said two men suspected of transporting money for the Zetas – Feliciano Ruiz Atilano and Rafael Vazquez Solis – were arrested Wednesday in Xalapa, capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.
Los Zetas, a group founded by deserters from a U.S.-trained Mexican special forces unit, started out as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two criminal organizations had a falling out in 2010 and the Zetas went into the drug business on their own account, gaining control of several lucrative territories.
Even in the violent world of Mexican organized crime, the Zetas stand out for their propensity to dismember the bodies of their victims.
President Felipe Calderon, who will step down in December, gave marines, army soldiers and federal police the lead role in the battle against drug cartels shortly after taking office in 2006.