Construction of a new police academy began yesterday in one of Mexico’s petroleum theft heartlands.
The state police training facility is being built on the outskirts of Santa Rosa de Lima, a town in the Guanajuato municipality of Villagrán that has been made famous by a cartel of the same name.
Until February, the community was under the control of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, a gang of fuel thieves believed to be led by José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz.
Authorities seized two luxury homes linked to the criminal organization during a police operation earlier this year and last month arrested a suspected right-hand man to the fuel theft capo in Comonfort, Guanajuato.
But Yépez remains at large despite an assurance by the federal government in March that his capture was imminent.
After the first stone of the police academy was laid yesterday, Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo said “the project symbolizes the recovery of territory that was difficult to access for authorities [and] where there was impunity and very significant social disintegration.”
The governor thanked the federal government for providing financial support for the facility.
Public Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony along with the heads of defense and the navy, said the federal government presence was evidence of its will to guarantee the safety of all Mexicans.
He added that the police academy will contribute to the achievement of a fundamental objective of the national security strategy: the ongoing training and professionalization of members of public security forces.
“We aspire to have a national policing model that harmonizes and coordinates the forces and resources of the entire republic . . . in order to be ready to give the response society demands on security matters,” Durazo said.
Guanajuato was the most violent state in Mexico last year in terms of sheer homicide numbers and the high murder rate has persisted this year. Much of the violence is believed to be linked to pipeline petroleum theft.
The Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) are involved in a bloody turf war in Guanajuato to control the lucrative fuel theft racket and to a lesser extent drug trafficking, the now-defunct National Security Commission said last year.
Guanajuato recorded the third highest number of taps on its petroleum pipelines in 2018 behind Hidalgo and Puebla.
Source: El Universal (sp)