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At 20, she is Mexico drug war town's top cop

Last updated on: October 21, 2010 15:28 IST

At 20, she is Mexico drug war town's top cop

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A town in Mexico has left most astonished after it appointed a college going mother-of-one to head a police force in the heart of a traditional route for narco-traffickers.

Marisol Valles, 20, who is studying criminology, has been appointed as chief of police of the northern Mexican border town of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero, in Chihuahua State.

Valles is yet to make an arrest, but she has already been hailed as Mexico's bravest woman for taking such a post in Juarez valley, which is a strip of about a dozen towns and villages where shadowy groups slaughter and mutilate police and civilians with impunity.

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Image: Marisol Valles talks to the media during a news conference in Praxedis G Guerrero on October 20. The town is one of Mexico's most dangerous drug war towns on the US border, where policemen have quit and officials have been killed
Photographs: Gael Gonzalez/Reuters
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Valles will head a force of just 13 agents

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"The situation can improve if we believe in ourselves and believe there is hope. I want to carry this through and show that we can do this," the Guardian quoted her as saying.

The town's mayor, Jose Luis Guerrero, said she was the most qualified from a handful of applicants for the job, which in many parts of Mexico is considered tantamount to a death sentence.

Valles will head a force of just 13 agents, nine of whom are women, with one working patrol car, three automatic rifles and a pistol.


Image: Marisol Valles Garcia sits at her desk at the police station in Praxedis G Guerrero
Photographs: Gael Gonzalez/Reuters
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'Everyone is frightened - it is very natural'

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"We are doing this for a new generation of people who don't want to be afraid anymore. Everyone is frightened - it is very natural," she said.

"My motive for being here is that one can do a lot for the town... we are going to make changes and get rid of a little of the fear in every person," she stated.

She added that her force would focus on a non-violent role of promoting values and principles and preventing crime.


Image: A policeman stands guard after a grenade explosion
Photographs: Tomas Bravo/Reuters
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The appointment has upset some traditionalists

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The appointment has upset some traditionalists and raised fresh questions about the state's capacity in an area, which has seen an exodus of residents amid massacres, beheadings and home burnings.

Juarez Valley, once a route for Apaches and outlaws like Billy the Kid, has been a transit point for cartels transporting cocaine, cannabis and other drugs to the Unites States, a stone's throw across the Rio Bravo.



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