Arturo Beltran Leyva, head of one of Mexico's top drug cartels, was killed on Wednesday along with four other cartel members in a battle with Mexican soldiers, the naval ministry said.
The so-called "godfather" of the "Beltran Leyva brothers" cartel was killed "during an intense battle between presumed members of his organization and military personnel from the Marine infantry in Cuernavaca, close to Mexico City, the ministry said in a statement.
Four of Levya's associates were killed in the shootout, including one who committed suicide after finding himself surrounded by troops, and three soldiers were injured by grenade fragments during the violence, the ministry added.
Arturo Beltran Leyva's brother Alfredo was arrested in January 2008, in the first major police operation against the cartel by President Felipe Calderon's administration.
A reward of 1.5 million dollars had been offered for Arturo Beltran Leyva, whose cartel was formed after a split emerged in the powerful Sinoloa cartel.