MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican authorities arrested a woman guarding an arsenal that included the first anti-aircraft machine gun seized in Mexico, 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. That has left police – particularly state and municipal forces – grossly outgunned, and many officers have quit following attacks.

Cruz said the confiscated .50-caliber, anti-aircraft 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 northern Sonora state.

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


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