Cop Out? Guadalupe's 20-Year-Old Police Chief Chooses Life

Mar 9, 2011
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.
Marisol Valles Garcia locked in at her post. (Photo: STRINGER Mexio/Reuters)

In October, 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia took the job as police chief of a small Mexican town—Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero.

No one wanted this job.

Guadalupe is in the center of Mexico's drug war and a short drive to one of the world's deadliest cities, Ciudad Juarez. Oh, and drug gangs had beheaded the new chief's predecessor.

About five months have passed since the criminology student's swearing in, and Valles is no longer at her post.

The AFP reported that Valles was fired after abandoning her post. A relative told AFP that the young chief "received death threats from a criminal group that wanted to force her to work for them."

Local government minister Andres Morales said he knew nothing about the threats.

The Associated Press reports:

Marisol Valles Garcia was granted a leave of absence from March 2-7 to travel to the United States for personal matters but failed to return to Praxedis G. Guerrero as agreed, city officials said in a statement.

Marisol Valles Garcia failed to return to her post on the appointed date, and did not notify the mayor when she could be expected back on the job. She was removed from office and the mayor stepped in as acting police chief.

Bullet holes in the glass door at police headquarters where Valles used to work. (Photo: STRINGER/Mexico/Reuters)

The New York Times reported that Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, a Chihuahua State human rights investigator, said Valles fled last week with her whole family, including her baby son.

The Wall Street Journal reports the former law-enforcement official is seeking asylum in the U.S. A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed Valles is in the States and said, "She will have the opportunity to present the facts of her case before an impartial immigration judge."

According to the El Paso Times, her exact whereabouts are uncertain, but human rights investigator Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson claimed two of Valles's relatives are in ICE custody in El Paso, while the ex-chief has moved to the interior of the U.S.

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