The Mexican navy said Friday it has captured a member of the hyper-violent Zetas cartel who allegedly participated in the torture-slayings of four marines.
Suspect Marcos Jesus Hernandez Rodriguez allegedly served as a top hit-man for the Zetas in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. He was caught with guns and drugs on Wednesday, said Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara.
The four marines were assigned to duty as drivers and were kidnapped and killed on April 18 as they returned from a training course in the state capital of Xalapa, Vergara said.
"These lamentable acts, far from frightening Mexican navy personnel, reinforce the need and desire to not let up in carrying out actions against organized crime," Vergara said.
Marines have largely taken over security duties in many parts of Veracruz because the Zetas intimidated or corrupted local police, and the zetas have frequently attacked or kidnapped and killed Navy personnel.
Vergara said another Zetas member detained earlier had implicated Hernandez Rodriguez in the crime and said he is suspected in at least seven other killings.
The short, low-browed, unblinking Hernandez Rodriguez was presented before news media Friday at the federal prosecutors' office.
Local media had reported that marines found photos of the bound, kidnapped marines in Hernandez Rodriguez's cellphone. Vergara said that video and photographic equipment were found in his possession, but did not confirm whether images of the marines had been found.