Police arrest 5 suspected gunmen in northern Mexico

Mexico City, May 7 (EFE).- Five suspected gunmen, including four Central Americans, were arrested by the Federal Police in the northern state of Zacatecas, the Mexican National Security Commission said.

The suspects "hid weapons inside a house" and "presumably worked as hitmen for a criminal organization" that operates in Zacatecas, the commission said in a statement without identifying the gang or releasing the date the arrests were made.

The men - a Mexican, two Guatemalans and two Hondurans - range in age from 19 to 36, the commission said.

Federal Police officers made the arrests after spotting a man in the city of Villa de Coss who was carrying a firearm and headed for a house as soon as he saw them, the commission said.

Officers set up a perimeter around the house and detained the five suspects, who were "in possession of four rifles, a pistol, 31 ammunition clips and 796 rounds of ammunition," the National Security Commission said.

Two bags containing marijuana were found at the house, the commission said.

Officers turned two minors found at the house over to prosecutors, who will determine whether they will face charges.

Zacatecas, like other states in northern Mexico, has been affected by a turf war between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels.

After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

The criminal organizations have been fighting for control of smuggling routes into the United States since 2010.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.