Last Tuesday, Mexican authorities seized a marine terminal owned by Vulcan Materials near Playa del Carmen, roughly an hour south of Cancún in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, in an incident described by U.S. Sen. Katie Britt as a “militarized seizure,” according to a statement on Sunday.
A video released on Sunday by Fox News and shared by Britt in her statement on Sunday appears to show Mexican police vehicles with the Solidaridad municipality of Quintana Roo, along with trucks seemingly owned by the Mexican cement and building company Cemex, entering into parts of the facility under cover of darkness.
The seizure occurred at 5:30 a.m., with the property remaining in the hands of the Mexican authorities as of 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to Britt.
Britt also alleged that Mexican military forces were involved in the seizure, but this has yet to be confirmed. Additionally, Britt said that a Mexican federal district court on Thursday ordered governmental forces to vacate the premises within 24 hours. This could not be independently verified.
Vulcan Materials has yet to respond to a request for comment.
“This forcible seizure of private property is unlawful and unacceptable,” Britt said in a statement on Sunday. “It is shameful that this Mexican presidential administration would rather confiscate American assets than the fentanyl killing hundreds of Americans per day.”
Britt insisted that Mexico “should be more focused on going after the cartels than law-abiding businesses and hardworking people” and called on President Joe Biden to present these concerns to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“The ramifications of this illicit seizure extend into the United States, significantly hamstringing important American infrastructure, energy, and other construction projects that currently rely on Vulcan’s operations in Mexico for materials,” Britt said. “My office and I will continue to monitor this situation and ensure this is not swept under the rug.”
The company’s facility in Quintana Roo has been shuttered since May of 2022 due to the ongoing legal disputes between the Birmingham-based company and the Mexican government over limestone mining operations in the region, according to Reuters.
President Lopez Obrador has sharply criticized the company in the past for causing an “ecological catastrophe” due to the methods used to extract limestone in the area.
In February 2022, Mexican government officials announced that they were in negotiations with Vulcan Materials to settle the $1.1 billion lawsuit levied by the government but indicated later that May that it would pursue further legal actions if a deal were not struck.