MONTERREY, Mexico – Army troops captured eight suspected drug traffickers in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon state, and seized a large amount of cash, drugs, arms and vehicles, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said.
Soldiers spotted an armed man on the street and followed him to a house, where they found seven other people counting money, the secretariat said.
The suspects, who include two women, had 16.5 million pesos and $27,211 in their possession, amounting to the equivalent of $1.3 million, the secretariat said.
Soldiers found two rifles, two handguns, 200 kilos of packaged marijuana and 1.7 kilos of cocaine at the house.
The suspects belonged to an unidentified drug cartel that sells narcotics in the Monterrey metropolitan area, the Defense Secretariat said.
Army troops made a record seizure of 23 million pesos ($1.7 million) and $3.7 million in cash that belonged to a drug cartel in Nuevo Leon in September 2009.
The border state of Nuevo Leon has been rocked by a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
The violence has intensified in the two border states since the appearance in February in Monterrey of giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana drug cartels 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.
The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnappings, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans willing to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.
More than 200 people, including 30 police officers, have died in the gang war in Nuevo Leon.
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Army Captures 8 Drug Traffickers in Northern Mexico