"Responding to the attack, this 'capo' died."

Military officials said Coronel was killed while resisting arrest [Reuters]

Coronel's death marks a major coup for Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, who declared a war on the country's drug cartels after taking office in 2006.

Coronel, who has been indicted in the US, was said by officials to have been the number three leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which is active in northwestern Mexico.

He was known as the "King of Crystal" for his dominance of methamphetamine production and trafficking as well as cocaine.

According to the FBI, which offered a $5m bounty for Coronel, he was believed to be "the forerunner in producing massive amounts of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories in Mexico, then smuggling it into the US."

Coronel was a close partner of Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, considered the country's top drug lord and the leader of the Sinaloa cartel.