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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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20-year-old named police chief in Mexico's fight against drugs

Criminology student Marisol Valles Garcia has been sworn in as the new police chief of border town.

Marisol Valles Garcia appears at a news conference after her swearing-in ceremony as the new police chief of Praxedis G Guerrero, Mexico, today.
Marisol Valles Garcia appears at a news conference after her swearing-in ceremony as the new police chief of Praxedis G Guerrero, Mexico, today.
Image: Raymundo Ruiz/AP/Press Association Images

A 20-YEAR-OLD STUDENT HAS been sworn in as the police chief of a town near the US border and along a dangerous drug trafficking route.

Marisol Valles Garcia, currently studying for her criminology degree and the mother of an infant son, was sworn in as the head of the police team of Praxeids G Guerrero.

The town is close to the US border, and the Mexican city Ciudad Juarez – the scene of increasing drug-related violence.

Al Jazeera reports that two rival drug gangs are fighting for control of Praxeids because the town’s single highway is on the drug smuggling route to Texas. Valles Garcia will oversee a team of 13 agents in a town whose population is around 8,500 people.

Speaking at a press conference after being sworn in, Valles Garcia outlined the reasons she took the post:

The situation can improve if we believe in ourselves and believe there is hope. I want to carry this through and show that we can do this.

We are doing this for a new generation of people who don’t want to be afraid any more.

The New York Times reports that she will also oversee policing at the nearby town El Porvenir, whose leader was shot dead along with his son days ago.

Valles Garcia said that the nine female members of her team will not be carrying guns, but will instead visit local residents to find ways of giving people “confidence so they will quite being afraid, so they can leave their houses”.

Reuters reports that almost 7,000 people have been killed in the Ciudad Juarez area since early 2008 as a result of drug violence and over 29,000 people have been killed across Mexico since 2006.

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