By Chris Covert
One week following the end of the security operation known as Laguna Segura and in the wake of several criminal incidents, elements of the Mexican Army and Durango state police are scheduled to arrive in La Laguna, perhaps within hours to reinforce security operations in the area, according to Mexican news accounts.
According to a news item posted on the website of El Sol de Durango news daily, three unidentified youths were found shot once in the head on the road between Nuevo Gomez Palacio and the village of La Borrega in Durango state late Tuesday afternoon. All three of the victims were under 16 years old.
In a separate incident, three men was killed when armed suspects attacked a business in Gomez Palacio Thursday, according to a news item posted on the website of EL Diario de Coahuila news daily.
The assault took place at Gruas ABSA on Bulevar Ejercito Mexicano, where armed suspects also set four cranes afire wounding two others. The dead were identified as Oscar Sanchez Martinez, 23 , who died at the scene and, Pablo Sanchez Ruvalcaba, 56, and Nestor Joaquin Landeros, who died while receiving medical attention. Wounded in the fire were Samuel Mendoza Hernandez, 39, Torreon, Coahuila, and Homero Garcia Meza, 21, Gomez Palacio.
Only two months ago then Mexican interior minister Alejandro Poire Romero arrived in Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila state, to make a review of security conditions in La Laguna, later making the determination that since violence had been reduced, the Laguna Segura operation could come to an end.
La Laguna is an area in eastern Coahuila and western Durango states which includes 10 municipalities of both states as well as the cities of Torreon, Coahuila and Gomez Palacio, Durango. Its location is on the northern most contiguous east west highway that connects the east and west coasts of Mexico, Mexico Federal Highway 40.
|Alejando Poire Romero|
For his part, Coahuila governor Ruben Moreira Valdes, his hands have been full in dealing with the breakdown in security in the Piedra Negras region of northern Coahuila state, where 131 inmates at a Centro de Readaptacion Social (CERESO) escaped, creating a massive security headache, with a severe uptick in violent incidents in the wake of the mass prison escape.
Governor Moreira Valdes also suffered the loss of his nephew, Eduardo Moreira who was working for Coahuila state in Ciudad Acuna, and who was killed allegedly on orders of Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, leader of Los Zetas, who himself was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a naval infantry unit in northern Coahuila state.
|Jorge Herrera Caldera|
Durango Governor Jorge Herrera Caldera has been publicly less than enthusiastic at the news, protesting the security operation should continue.
Laguna Segura was initiated November, 2011, as a comprehensive joint program controlled by the Mexican Army, including the 10th Military Zone and later the IX Military Region, which intended to address jurisdictional problems especially in pursuits against organized crime groups which pass through the area. The program was also intended to clean state police and assist 10 municipalities in and around La Laguna in cleaning their police corporations, as well as provide a choke point for drug cartels' movement of product and shooters north.
At one point Laguna Segura claimed as many as 4,000 federal operatives in the area.
According to a news item posted on the website of El Siglo de Durango news daily, Durango state Secretaria de Seguridad Publica del Estado (SSPE), Antonio Rosso Holguin, announced that Durango Policia Acrediable units and units of the Mexican Army would move into the area and would be coordinated this time by Durango state.
|Antonio Rosso Holguin|
SSPE Rosso Holguin also said that Policia Federal (PF) units could return to the area, but not yet, as hotels housing PF units were already full. Some PF quarters were attacked by armed suspects last month. He also indicated that Torreon may not be protected by units with the 10th Military Zone, which is based in Durango.
So far, no announcement has been released by the Mexican Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) the controlling agency for the Mexican Army relating to the new security arrangements.
Mexican news accounts indicate that the state security structure in Coahuila is currently focussed on the Piedras Negras area, where shootings and shootouts have become commonplace.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com