Troops at a plaza in México state Thursday morning. Troops at a plaza in México state Thursday morning.

2,000 guardsmen deployed to remove toll plaza hijackers

The National Guard has assumed control of the plazas in several states

The federal government has sent out 2,000 National Guard troops to take back control of hijacked toll plazas in several states.

In the Mexico City borough of Tlalpan, where toll booths have been repeatedly hijacked, National Guard members arrived in anti-riot gear to assume control. A similar scene was repeated on the Mexico-Pachuca highway, the Mexico-Puebla highway and the Mexico-Toluca highway.

At a toll plaza on the Mexico-Cuernavaca highway, guardsmen prevented a group that had arrived in two trucks from Guerrero from taking over the toll booths.

Guard patrols also showed up at the Circuito Mexiquense loop and the Arco Norte bypass in México state, as well as at toll booths in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa.

According to the Reforma newspaper, some 600 toll plaza hijackings have been recorded in the country this year.

The hijackings, which often last only a few minutes until the hijackers get wind that the authorities are coming, can nevertheless be very lucrative. In other cases, usually meant to call attention to a cause, occupations have gone on for weeks.

In most instances, the persons occupying the toll booths ask drivers for “voluntary contributions” instead of tolls. Some ask for less than the actual toll, but there have been instances where motorists refused to pay and protesters became aggressive to demand payment. Many drivers have told media outlets that they feel intimidated by the hijackers.

Some toll booth occupations have allegedly been controlled by cartels. Others have been taken over by people who say they are merely doing what they can to get by since the coronavirus pandemic put them out of work.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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