By Chris Covert
An additional 746 Mexican Army troops have been dispatched to the La Laguna region of Mexico, accoriding to an official announcement by the Mexican Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA), the controlling agency for the Mexican Army.
The announcement did not provide any other details except to note that the reinforcements have already arrived in the area.
In practical terms, 746 troops represents a regiment of infantry, which is as heavy a one time movement of Mexican Army troops to any region.
La Laguna, which represents the area that includes Torreon, Coahuila, Ciudad Lerdo and Gomez Palacio, Durango has been the site of one of the heaviest concentrations of federal, and Coahuila and Durango state security forces in Mexico. At last count, 4,000 total security troops were stationed in La Laguna, all part of Seguro Laguna, a security operation began last October.
Mexico has similar operations in other states, such as Operacion Noreste in Tamaulipas state, Seguro Veracruz in Veracruz state and Seguro Guerrero in Guerrero state, all intended to place a high concentration of federal security forces in areas known to be in use gangs by Mexican drug gangs.
The Seguro Laguna operation is commanded by the XI Military Region based in Saltillo, Coahuila and was originally intended to place several troops in choke points used by Mexican cartels to move drugs, munitions, shooters and migrants to the northern border with the United States.
One of the main goals of the operation was to reduce violence in the area, but an increase of shootings and several recent mass murders in the region involving rival drug gangs had officials considering requesting additional federal reinforcements, but from the Mexican Secretaria de Seguridad Publica (SSP), the controlling agency for the Polica Federal (PF).
However, Policia Federal troops had been asked to leave the region last February because the presence of PF troops had reportedly exacerbated violence in the area. The news dispatch which dealt with local officials' request named SSP head Genero Luna Garcia. However news released a day later indicated that PF troops from Zacatecas would be redeployed to Sinaloa and replacement troops would soon be arriving in Zacatecas as reinforcements. No mention in those news releases about additional PF troops moving to La Laguna was indicated.
SEDENA is constantly rotating maneuver ground units in and out of critical regions such as La Laguna, both as a security measure and to give tactical and unit commanders valuable experience in counternarcotics operations.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com