Among those killed was a local official in Ejido Reforma, close to the border. The bodies of two half-naked women were found in the suburbs of Chihuahua city.

Mexico says that most of the sophisticated weapons used by drug cartels come from the US.

The government has long called on Washington to impose more controls on weapons sales.

"Given the shared interest in combating criminal activity around the border, President Calderon called on the United States to take strong action to curb the smuggling of weapons from the north to the south," a government statement said on Monday.

On the same day, Calderon met a group of US legislators whom he said were interested to speed up a multi-million-dollar aid package to combat the Mexican drug industry.

There were 1,600 murders in Ciudad Juarez last year, with 250 occurring so far this year.

About 5,300 people were murdered throughout Mexico in 2008 despite the government deploying nearly 36,000 troops to deal with the problem.