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Mexican Drug Violence Leave 18 Dead

Violence related to bloody feuds between rival drug cartels claimed the lives of 18 persons in Mexico even as President Barack Obama Monday reiterated U.S. support in helping Mexico fight the drug war, reports say.

Local prosecutors in the northern state of Chihuahua said Monday that three bodies were discovered in the city besides a decapitated body was found in the center of the state capital. Across the state, which borders the United States, 14 other persons were found killed, including ten in the frontier city of Ciudad Juarez.

The grizzly discoveries came as Obama on a visit to visit Mexico pledged U.S. support to help Mexico fight drug-trafficking cartels and set a time-line of the end of this year for the administration to begin pushing for an immigration overhaul.

"I would anticipate that before the year is out we will have draft legislation along with sponsors potentially in the House and the Senate who are ready to move this forward, and when we come back next year, that we should be in a position to start acting," he said.

Obama praised Mexican President Felipe Calderón's "courageous effort" to crackdown on the drug cartels, which has triggered a surge in violence as drug traffickers hit back at security forces and vie for lucrative smuggling routes to the United States.

"I heartily compliment President (Felipe) Calderon and his government for their determination and courage in taking on these cartels," Obama said in Guadalajara, adding that his host had pledged to respect human rights in the war on drugs--tacitly acknowledging allegations of human rights violations committed by the Mexican military as it takes on cartels nationwide.

Earlier, Mexican law enforcement authorities on Monday announced they had uncovered and arrested members of a cell of hit men in Sinaloa. The five cell members belong to the powerful Sinaloa cartel and were plotting to kill Calderón, authorities said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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