At least 26 dead in Mexico drug gang violence

Posted at 01/06/2013 12:20 PM | Updated as of 01/06/2013 8:17 PM

MEXICO CITY - At least 26 people were killed in Mexico in the past 24 hours in apparent drug-related crimes, including six men shot dead whose bodies bear signs of torture, authorities said Saturday.

Of the 26 deaths reported from Friday to Saturday, 16 of them took place in Chihuahua state, which shares a long border with the United States. Six others occurred in Sinaloa state, a stronghold of one of Mexico's ruthless drug gangs.

In Chihuahua, the bodies of six men were found late Friday in a ravine in the town of Balleza. Prosecutors said the men were tortured and then shot dead. Three of them had ties to Balleza's mayor.

In Sinaloa, six people were found dead in two separate incidents.

Chihuahua and Sinaloa have been two of the states hardest-hit in Mexico's grinding drug war.

At least 70,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006, when troops were deployed to battle drug cartels, according to the new government, which took over in December.

New President Enrique Pena Nieto has pledged to reduce the country's crime rate as he battles the powerful cartels.

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