‘Mexico’s Bravest Woman’: Police Chief, 20, Seeks U.S. Asylum


Photo: AFP
Marisol Valles, 20, was the only person in town willing to serve as police chief. Now she is reportedly fleeing to the U.S.

​​The 20-year-old college student who was called “Mexico’s bravest woman” after she was named police chief of a small Mexican town when nobody else would take the job has reportedly fled and is seeking asylum in the United States.

Marisol Valles “received death threats from a criminal group that wanted to force her to work for them,” a relative told AFP on Thursday. However, an official from the town of Praxedis, which is just across the border from Fort Hancock, Texas, denied that their young police chief was leaving town.
Town Secretary Andres Morales told the El Paso Times that Valles had asked for some personal days off to tend to her child, but is expected to be back at work on Monday, reports CBS News. As for the reports of Valles seeking asylum in the U.S., “Right now, those are rumors,” Morales said. (Note to the credulous: this could be a cover story to throw off her would-be assassins.)

After the police chief of Praxedis was kidnapped in 2009 — and his severed head was left outside the police station a few days later — understandably, nobody was eager to fill the position until Valles agreed to do it.
“I took the risk because I want my son to live in a different community to the one we have today,” Valles said. “I want people to be able to go without fear, as it was before,” she said during her swearing-in ceremony last October.
Valles’s departure comes a few months after Erika Gandara, 28, the last law officer left in the border town of Guadalupe, was kidnapped. Gandara’s whereabouts are still unknown.
The Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels are in a bitter fight for control of Ciudad Juarez and the surrounding towns, key points to smuggle drugs into the lucrative U.S. market, reports Borderland Beat. Praxedis is on the Rio Grande border with the U.S., some 40 miles southeast of Juarez.
Last year around 3,100 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez, which has a population of 1.2 million. Police blame the violence on the illegal drug trade.