According to Mexico News Daily, a one-month-old security operation in the state of Guanajuato, reported to have been successful in reducing train robberies, will be reinforced with the construction of barracks to house an additional 800 soldiers, increasing the permanent presence of the Army in the state to close to 2,000 personnel.
The new military facility is to be built in the ejido, or community owned territory, of Albarradones, bordering the municipalities of Silao and León.
The community landowners received 30 million pesos (just under US $1.5 million) for the 60-hectare piece of land.
The new facilities represent an investment of 275 million pesos (13.7 million USD), of which the Defense Secretariat, Sedena, will contribute 50 million. The remaining 225 million pesos will be borne by the state government, which is looking for contributions from the private industries and companies operating in its territory.
According to regional Army commander Felipe Gurrola Ramírez, the facility is to be manned by 800 soldiers of the Military Police. They will be responsible for guarding railways and pipelines and patrolling cities including León, Silao, Irapuato, Salamanca and Celaya.
Gurrola said construction of the new barracks will begin within the next four weeks, and that the project should be finished in six to eight months.
The location of the new facility “is strategic because it connects the metropolitan axis of Silao-León-San Francisco del Rincón-Purísima del Rincón with the León-Celaya stretch of federal highway 45, allowing for a fast deployment of armed forces in case of an emergency,” said the official.
State officials have reported that last month’s 1,000-strong deployment of Army personnel — along with 300 Federal Police officers and the collaboration of municipal police departments — aided in drastically reducing the number of train robberies.
Guanajuato is No. 1 in the country for train robberies, and the second in illegal tapping of Pemex pipelines. The number of homicides has also sharply increased this year in the otherwise prosperous Bajío state.