Mexico's army on Monday announced the capture of a top lieutenant of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

Alfredo Beltran Leyva was arrested in the city of Culiacan in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, home to the so-called Sinaloa cartel, Mexican Army Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver Cen said.

Beltran was allegedly in charge of transporting drugs, bribing officials and laundering money for the cartel, led by Mexico's most-wanted alleged drug lord, Joaquin Guzman.

He also commanded two groups of hitmen for the cartel, whose reach extends to the northwestern state of Sonora and the southern state of Oaxaca, Cen said.

The black-bearded Beltran — dressed in jeans, a dark jacket and boots — was led in handcuffs in front of reporters at the airport hangar of the Mexican attorney general's office, before authorities flew him by helicopter to an undisclosed location.

Beltran was captured with two suitcases containing $900,000, a Kalashnikov rifle, a luxury sport utility vehicle and 11 expensive watches, authorities said.

Guzman escaped from federal prison in 2001 in a laundry cart after bribing guards.