Youngest Mexican Police Chief a No Call, No Show–Update.

 

UPDATE—Associated Press reporting that Valles Garcia now seeking asylum in the US because of death threats. Here’s the latest article…

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A young woman who received death threats

after recently becoming police chief of a violence-plagued Mexican

town is in the U.S and seeking asylum, Mexican and U.S. officials

said Tuesday.

Marisol Valles Garcia, 20, made international headlines when she

accepted the top law enforcement job in Praxedis G. Guerrero, a

township near the Texas border that has been overcome by drug

violence. Her predecessor was kidnapped, murdered and decapitated

in July 2009.

Garcia is now in the U.S. and will be allowed to present her

case to an immigration judge, according to a statement from U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The town is in the Mexican

state of Chihuahua, where ombudsman Gustavo de la Rosa confirmed

that Garcia was in the U.S. and said she has initiated a formal

asylum petition.

Neither ICE nor De la Rosa would say where Garcia was staying,

citing privacy and security concerns.

Drug violence has transformed the township of about 8,500 people

from a string of quiet farming communities into a lawless no man’s

land only about a mile from the Texas border. Two rival gangs — the

Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels — are battling over control of its

single highway, a lucrative drug-trafficking route along the Texas

border.

Residents have said Garcia had received death threats, and the

ombudsman said there may have been at least one attempt to kidnap

her. Local officials said they had given her a leave of absence

from March 2 through March 7 to travel to the U.S. to tend to

personal matters, but she never returned.

Garcia was officially fired Monday for apparently abandoning her

post. Police will answer to the mayor until a new chief is

appointed, the city government’s statement said.

Garcia was still a criminology student when she accepted the job

in October to oversee 12 police officers. At the time, she said she

wanted them to go door-to-door looking for criminals and teaching

values to the families.

Since I’ve covered so many stories on the drug violence in Mexico I have been following the story of the 20-year-old woman who took over as Police Chief in the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero. Many couldn’t decide if this was a brave or foolish move. Nonetheless, Marisol Valles Garcia took a job no one wanted and did it, she says, out of civic duty. The position had been vacant since 2009 when the last police chief was murdered. Now, word is coming out of Mexico that Valles Garcia has abandoned her post because of death threats. Can’t say I blame her… Here’s the article from the Associated Press.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A 20-year-old woman who made international

headlines when she accepted the job as police chief in a violent

Mexican border town was fired Monday for apparently abandoning her

post after receiving death threats.

Marisol Valles Garcia was given permission to travel to the

United States last week for personal matters but failed to return

to Praxedis G. Guerrero as agreed, according to a statement from

the city.

“In the absence of (Valles Garcia’s) presence on the

agreed-upon day and since there was no notification of a need to

extend the period of her absence, the mayor has decided to remove

her from office,” the statement read.

Local news media have reported that Valles Garcia was seeking

asylum in the United States, but there has been no confirmation of

that and her precise whereabouts were not clear Monday.

On Friday, Chihuahua state Human Rights Commission official

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson said Valles Garcia’s relatives and

friends told him she had received telephone threats against her

life the previous weekend.

A local official accompanied the 20-year-old police chief this

week to the international bridge connecting El Porvenir to Fort

Hancock, Texas, he said.

De la Rosa Hickerson and city officials tried to contact Valles

Garcia by cell phone amid increasing speculation that she was

seeking refuge, but were unable to reach her.

Valles Garcia was named police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero in

October. The town had been without a police chief since her

predecessor was shot to death in July 2009.

Drug violence has transformed the township of about 8,500 people

from a string of quiet farming communities into a lawless no man’s

land.

Two rival gangs — the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels — are

battling over control of its single highway, a lucrative

drug-trafficking route along the Texas border.

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