A Mexican human rights official is in U.S. customs detention, apparently for his own safety, after he reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua.

Customs and Border Protection agents took Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson into custody Thursday.

A report in Saturday's El Paso Times says his lawyer Carlos Spector believed they wanted him to seek political asylum.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa says Hickerson was taken into custody due to "mandatory detention provisions and will be afforded all rights and procedures allowed" under U.S. laws.

Hickerson works for the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission.