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Young Mexican Ex-Police Chief Seeks US Asylum

In this Oct. 20, 2010 file photo, Marisol Valles is seen after her swearing-in ceremony as the police chief of the border town of Praxedis G. Guerrero, near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
In this Oct. 20, 2010 file photo, Marisol Valles is seen after her swearing-in ceremony as the police chief of the border town of Praxedis G. Guerrero, near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

U.S. immigration officials say a 20-year-old woman who received death threats after becoming police chief of a violent Mexican border town is seeking political asylum in the United States.

Authorities said Tuesday that Marisol Valles is in the U.S. and will be allowed to present her case to an immigration judge.

Valles is the former police chief of the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero.  She had taken leave March 2 to attend to personal matters and was due to return to work last Monday.  The town's mayor fired her when she failed to show up for work without giving notice.

Valles is a criminology student and the mother of an infant son.  She was sworn in last October in Praxedis G. Guerrero, one of Mexico's most dangerous drug towns.  It has nearly 10,000 people and is in Mexico's Chihuahua state, an area plagued by drug violence.

When she accepted the job last year, Valles said she wanted people to live without fear.

Mexico's government has struggled to deal with the threat drug cartels pose to the underpaid, untrained and often corrupt local police forces.

Mexican military forces have been engaged in a brutal struggle against violent drug cartels.  At least 34,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and began cracking down on the cartels.

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