Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, is due to meet his American counterpart at the White House.
Security - or rather the lack of it - will top the agenda.
The meeting comes just days after Mexican authorities found a mass grave in the state of Guerrero containing at least 17 people. It was the fifth mass grave to be found in Mexico since June.
Nearly 40,000 people have lost their lives in Mexico's drug war, despite a US-aided crackdown.
Both countries have been struggling to contain the supply across the border, and Calderon has said US drug users and lax gun laws that fuel the problem.
Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.
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