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Mexico Town Fires Young Police Chief in Drug War

Marisol Valles Garcia, 20, left, inspects the prisoners cell at the police station after her swearing-in ceremony as the new police chief of the border town of Praxedis G. Guerrero, near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (File Photo - October 20, 2010)

Woman, who volunteered for position in violent border town, apparently abandoned her post after reportedly receiving death threats

A 20-year-old Mexican woman who volunteered to be the police chief of a violent border town has been fired for apparently abandoning her post after it was reported that she received death threats.

Officials say Marisol Valles took leave March 2 to attend to personal matters and was due to return to work Monday in the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero. But the town's mayor fired her when she failed to show up for work without giving any notice.

Local media say Valles fled Mexico and is seeking asylum in the United States after being threatened by drug gangs. Mexican authorities do not know her whereabouts, and there is no U.S. government confirmation of the media reports about her disappearance.

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. The town of nearly 10,000 people is in Mexico's Chihuahua state, an area plagued by drug violence.

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

Mexico's government has struggled to deal with the threat that 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.