updated 5/16/2009 7:20:07 AM ET 2009-05-16T11:20:07

Mexico received eight armored vehicles as part of a U.S. aid package to help the government with its nationwide fight against drug cartels, the government announced Friday.

Officials held a ceremony to receive the vehicles, which the U.S. Embassy said will help protect federal police agents during counternarcotics operations.

The United States has plans to deliver $39 million in nonintrusive inspection equipment as well as new ballistics equipment for forensics laboratories in the next weeks. The United States also has initiated a broad range of training programs in coordination with Mexican law enforcement authorities.

The U.S. Congress has appropriated $700 million over the past two years to help Mexico fight the cartels.

Alleged cartel lieutenant held
Later Friday, Mexican federal police announced the capture of an alleged lieutenant of the Sinaloa drug cartel, the 327th such arrest since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and stepped up the campaign against traffickers.

Police described Mario Gonzalez Martinez as one of the most trusted aides of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. He was captured along with four alleged accomplices in the western state of Jalisco.

The Public Safety Department said federal police also seized 10 rifles and six pistols.

Calderon has sent more than 45,000 soldiers to combat drug cartels. Drug violence has killed more than 10,750 people in the last 2 1/2 years.

The highest-ranking leaders of Mexico's cartels remain at large.

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