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Woman, 20, New Police Chief of Violent Mexican Town
The Mexican town of Guadalupe Distrito Bravo had a problem -- no one wanted to be police chief. And with good reason; the town is plagued by drug violence and murders. But up stepped perhaps the bravest young woman you'll ever meet.
20-year-old criminology student Marisol Valles Garcia has been named the chief of police of Guadalupe. It is one of the most dangerous municipalities in Mexico's violence-wracked northern state of Chihuahua.
Valles Garcia has a tough task ahead of her. At least eight people were murdered in the town last week alone. The former mayor was assassinated in June, and local police are routinely kidnapped and murdered.
Two bodyguards have been assigned to protect Valles Garcia. While hit men for the cartels have been more than able to penetrate much tighter security details, killing mayors and police chiefs throughout northern Mexico, she says she isn't afraid.
Valles Garcia said the cartels should not fear her because it is not her job to fight drug trafficking. She said during her swearing-in ceremony that that is the responsibility of other government agencies.
She said her 12-member police force would focus on preventative programs for schools and neighborhoods, rehabilitating public spaces and fostering better relationships between neighbors in order to improve general security.
"My people are out there going door to door, looking for criminals, and (in homes) where there are none, trying to teach values to the families," she said.
28,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since a crackdown began four years ago. A good number of those deaths have been in the state of Chihuahua.