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Source: Former Mexican police chief is in the U.S.

By the CNN Wire Staff
Marisol Valles Garcia, pictured in October, was the only person who accepted the top police job in Praxedis G. Guerrero, Mexico.
Marisol Valles Garcia, pictured in October, was the only person who accepted the top police job in Praxedis G. Guerrero, Mexico.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marisol Valles Garcia is in the United States, an ICE official says
  • Valles Garcia made headlines when she became police chief at just 20 years old
  • There are reports that she is seeking asylum in the United States
  • Her town does not know her whereabouts

Editor's note: CNN en Español spoke with Garcia after she accepted the police chief post in October. Read what she said about why she took the job.

(CNN) -- Marisol Valles Garcia, the former police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero, Mexico, who took office when she was just 20 years old, is in the United States, an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement told CNN Monday.

"Marisol Valles Garcia is in the United States and she will have the opportunity to present the facts of her case before an impartial immigration judge. Absent a signed privacy waiver, there are no additional details," the official said.

Authorities in the municipality of Praxedis last week denied published reports that she was in the United States and would seek asylum.

Earlier Monday, Valles Garcia was fired because she failed to show up for work on the day that a personal leave she was given expired.

At that time, town secretary Andres Morales told CNN he did not know anything about her whereabouts.

There are reports that Valles Garcia left Mexico to seek asylum in the United States because of threats, but local authorities in Mexico have not confirmed that.

2010: 20-year-old chief cop
RELATED TOPICS
  • Mexico
  • Illegal Drugs

Valles Garcia grabbed international attention last year when she took over the top job in a police force whose officers have been abducted and killed.

City officials have said that Valles Garcia, a criminology student, was on personal leave because her 8-month-old baby is sick. They expected her back Monday.

But because she didn't show up or ask for an extension, the mayor terminated Valles Garcia, according to a town news release.

She had asked for a leave from March 2 to 7, the news release said.

Valles Garcia was named police chief in October 2010.

Over the weekend, several of her neighbors told CNN it is an open secret that she had fled to the United States. Many said they were afraid to give their names to a reporter, as violence related to drug cartels is rampant in the region.

Last year, Valles Garcia was the only person who accepted the top police job. There was good reason for the fear.

Around the time she took the post, a 59-year-old local mayor, Rito Grado Serrano, and his 37-year-old son, Rigoberto Grado Villa, were killed in a house in which they were hiding in nearby Ciudad Juarez. Another area mayor was killed in June.

Nationwide, the Mexican government says there have been more than 34,600 drug-related deaths since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on cartels in December 2006.

CNN's Nick Valencia, Rafael Romo and journalist Edgar Roman contributed to this report.

 
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