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Mexico Under Siege

Rolling in the big guns in Sonora

Police confiscate a powerful arsenal linked to drug gang.

April 15, 2009|Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities arrested a woman guarding an arsenal that included an antiaircraft-capable machine gun, police said Tuesday, as the army announced the capture of an alleged top drug cartel lieutenant.

The arsenal belonged to a group linked to the powerful Beltran Leyva drug cartel, federal police coordinator Gen. Rodolfo Cruz said. It also included ammunition, five rifles, a grenade and part of a grenade launcher.

Mexican drug cartels, battling a fierce crackdown by soldiers and federal police, have increasingly gotten hold of higher-powered weapons, even military-grade arms such as grenades and machine guns.

Cruz said the confiscated machine gun can fire 800 rounds per minute and is capable of penetrating armor from more than 5,000 feet. Police on a routine patrol Monday found the gun fitted atop an SUV at a house in Sonora state.

Authorities did not release any other details about the gun, including its make, where it was manufactured, or where it was sold.

The arrested suspect, Anahi Beltran Cabrera, apparently is not related to the Beltran Leyva clan, Cruz said.

Also Tuesday, the Mexican army announced the capture of Ruben Granados Vargas, an alleged lieutenant for the Beltran Leyva cartel, in Guerrero state.

Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver said soldiers caught Granados Vargas and two other suspects with four rifles and 2.6 pounds of opium on Monday.

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