Marisol Valles Garcia, 20, police chief of violent Mexican town
Marisol Valles Garcia is now the police chief of the violent town of Guadalupe Distrito Bravo in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. After all the town’s police officers had been either kidnapped or killed, Valles Garcia was the only person who would take the job. The 20-year-old woman working on her criminology degree was sworn in Wednesday.
20-year old woman stands up to drug cartels
Marisol Valles Garcia told CNN she gladly accepted when Mayor Jose Luis Guerrero offered her the job as police chief. In one of the most violent towns in Chihuahua, Valles Garcia envisions a non-violent role for her 13-member force, which is mostly female and doesn’t carry guns. She told CNN en Español her weapons will be principles and values. Valles Garcia said her goal is to establish crime prevention programs in neighborhoods and schools, achieve security in public places and encourage cooperation among neighbors to form watch committees.
Drug gangs duke it out
The Municipio of Guadalupe Distrito Bravo in northern Chihuahua along the Texas border has seen heavy fighting between the Sinaloa cartel and the La Linea gang for control of smuggling routes, according to MSNBC. Three Guadalupe Distrito Bravo officials have been killed since the gang war broke out in 2008. Guadalupe residents say drug cartels take over the town at night. Armed with assault rifles, they ride through town in pickups and SUVs. The assistant mayor of nearby El Porvenir and the mayor of Guadalupe were killed shortly before Valles Garcia took office.
The Mexican police problem
If they aren’t killed or scared away in many Mexican towns, entire police forces have been fired or arrested for cooperating with drug cartels. The Associated Press reports that officials say low wages and inferior weaponry add to the problem. Recently soldiers and federal police have taken over patrols on main roads, but they’re afraid to venture down unfamiliar dirt roads leading to towns like Guadalupe that are owned by the drug traffickers.