Mexican Police Chief Requests US
Chief in Palomas a Mexican Border Town Beset by
Violence Seeks Asylum After Deputies Leave
By MARK EVANS Associated Press Writer
The police chief of a Mexican border town
racked by smuggling-related violence fled to the U.S.
seeking asylum after his deputies abandoned him, federal
officials said Friday.
Emilio Perez, the chief of Palomas,
Mexico, showed up at the international port of entry in
Columbus, N.M., late Tuesday, saying his two deputies
had left the department and that he now needed
protection, too, according to Doug Mosier, a U.S. Border
Patrol spokesman in El Paso.
Perez was taken in and was believed to be
in custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on
Friday, according to Mosier. Leticia Zamarripa, an ICE
spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case, citing
"This is a little off the beaten path, I
haven't seen this before," Mosier said. "(But) with the
escalating violence in Palomas, we understand why this
individual sought asylum."
Perez's village, just south of the border
with New Mexico, was once a relatively quiet town. But
violence has increased in the last few years, as it has
elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, and appears to
have spiked of late.
On Thursday, the bodies of two people
were found wrapped in blankets and dumped along a road
near Palomas, and several other people were seen taken
hostage over the past few days by heavily armed men, the
newspaper El Diario of Juarez, Mexico, reported Friday.
Last month, two men were gunned down at a
gas station near the international checkpoint, officials
The telephone went unanswered Friday at
the Mexican consulate in El Paso, Texas, and at federal
police headquarters in the state of Chihuahua — where
Palomas is located.
Palomas has had a spate of drug-related
violence as Mexico's ongoing crackdown on powerful
cartels fuels turf wars among traffickers. The area also
is a common meeting point for migrants heading north.
Mosier also pointed to another recent
crime in which the mayor of Columbus visited a dentist
in Palomas — only to have his root canal interrupted by
two pistol-toting men came in demanding money. No one
brazen down there," Mayor Eddie Espinoza later told the
Deming Headlight newspaper. "I didn't have no fear about
going to Palomas, before. Now, I do."