Rights activist: Young Mexico police chief in US

AP News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2011 10:36 PM
Rights activist: Young Mexico police chief in US

A 20-year-old woman who made international headlines when she accepted the job as police chief in a violent Mexican border town received death threats and is now in the U.S., a human rights advocate said Friday amid speculation that she is seeking asylum.

Chihuahua state Human Rights Commission official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson said Marisol Valles Garcia's relatives and friends told him that she had received telephone threats last 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.

Local media have reported that Valles Garcia is seeking asylum in the United States, but officials in the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero denied that.

City council spokesman Jose Flores said Valles Garcia asked for a leave of absence, but planned to return to work Monday.

Both Flores and de la Rosa Hickerson said they had tried to contact Valles Garcia since the rumors began circulating Thursday but she was not answering her cell phone.

Chihuahua state prosecutors' spokesman Arturo Sandoval said authorities had not received any reports or complaints of threats against Valles Garcia.

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.