Mexican authorities say the bodies of 13 youths have been found shot to death in western Mexico, in what appears to be the latest drug-related violence sweeping the country.

Local officials say the bodies were discovered Thursday in Sinaloa state, home to a major drug cartel of the same name.

The incident follows an attack on a deputy attorney general and his secretary in the volatile Mexican border area of Ciudad Juarez.

Officials say gunmen opened fire on Jesus Martin Huerta and his secretary while they were stopped at a traffic intersection on Wednesday.  Both were killed.

An unofficial tally of Mexico's drug and organized crime related deaths rose to more than 5,000 people on Wednesday.  The newspaper tracking the death toll, El Universal, reported 5,031 deaths since the beginning of 2008.

According to the paper, the first 1,000 homicides this year occurred in 113 days, while the one thousand most recent killings happened in just 42 days.

The U.S. government Wednesday released the first part of a $400 million aid package to support Mexico's police and soldiers battling drug cartels.

The three-year aid package includes helicopters and weapons systems to equip law enforcement agencies.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed 36,000 troops to try and stop the drug gangs.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.