A 20-year old former police chief who fled her northern Mexico border town after receiving death threats could soon have her asylum claim heard by a US judge, an immigration official told AFP Tuesday.
An official with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) told AFP that Marisol Valles was in the United States after fleeing her post as the top law enforcement official in the Mexican town of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero in northern Chihuahua state.
In Mexico, Gustavo de la Rosa, Chihuahua human rights ombudsman, told AFP that he had sent a lawyer across the border to support Valles.
"Valles and her family are in the United States, in a city in the interior, and have started a formal asylum petition," he said.
A college student and mother, Valles was fired over the weekend by local officials for abandoning her job.
Relatives have said that the young woman received death threats from criminals who wanted to force her to work for them.
In October, Valles took over as police chief of the town of 10,000 inhabitants, which is located a short distance from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's deadliest city.
She was hired after the other candidates dropped out, following the assassination of the town's mayor and his son.
Mexico's Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels are engaged in a bitter fight for control of Ciudad Juarez and its surrounding towns, key smuggling routes into the lucrative US market.
Last year, some 3,100 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez, population 1.2 million, in violence authorities have blamed on the drug trade.
Source: AFP American Edition