Marisol Valles, Mexico's "bravest woman," seeks asylum in US


Twenty-year-old criminology student, Marisol Valles, attends a press conference during her presentation as chief of police of a northern Mexican border town in Chihuahua State on Oct. 20, 2010.



A young woman, Marisol Valles, once hailed as "the bravest woman in Mexico" for her willingness to lead her hometown's police department, has fled Mexico and applied for asylum in Texas, according to authorities. She reportedly received death threats from drug cartels.

Valles took the job of police chief in Práxedis G. Guerrero last year after her predecessor was beheaded, reports the Wall Street Journal.

At age 20 she became the country's youngest police chief in October; no one else would take the job.

Newsweek ranked her -- alongside Oprah Winfrey -- last week in a list of "women who shake the world."

And yet, the violence in Mexico apparently proved too much for Valles.

She left Mexico with her family, including her baby son, according to Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, a Chihuahua State human rights investigator.

More than 31,000 people have been killed in Mexico since the government declared a war on drug gangs in 2006. Drug traffickers have killed hundreds of police officers as well as harassed their families.

Práxedis is a small town close to the border with the United States and near Ciudad Juárez, considered the most violent city in Mexico. It is in the Juarez Valley in Chihuahua state, an area that has been badly affected by drug cartels fighting over routes to the United States.