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Private Transport Service Wants More Police Patrols on San Miguel Roads

Carretera a Celaya

Subhead: After Dec 4 shuttle van carjacking robbery, calls for more safety measures

By Jesús Aguado

On December 4, on the road to Celaya close to Viñedos San Miguel, a private shuttle van transporting two Canadians and two Americans to Santiago de Querétaro Airport was hijacked by thieves who stole their belongings, their passports, and the vehicle.

The assailants used a rifle-type weapon to force everyone from the vehicle.

The shuttle company, BajíoGo, represented by Luis Mondrágón, insists that this attack did not particularly target foreigners but all types of Sanmiguelenses. He is demanding that the municipal, state, and federal authorities do their jobs and guarantee security on the roads in and out of San Miguel de Allende.

“I understand that there cannot be police officers everywhere, but I do not know of any security plan. It seems like the government is more interested in covering up information about crime than in doing something, but these crimes are happening. They also use these roads; their families do too, although they may have bodyguards. There is no plan, at least not one they have told us about,” said Mondragón.

In our previous issue, Rolando Eugenio Hidalgo Eddy (San Miguel’s new Secretary of Security) granted an interview to Atención in which he said that the entrances and exits of San Miguel are carefully watched, and he shared statistics showing how many people have been arrested for home robbery and vehicle theft.

But Mondragón believes that there are no safety guarantees on San Miguel’s roads: the company’s drivers have been attacked at all three of the city’s entrance points. This most recent case, which occurred on Monday at 11:30am, happened on the road to Celaya close to Viñedos San Miguel.

In the incident, a red Lobo pickup truck began following the white Bajiogo SUV. When both vehicles got close to the bridge at Viñedos de San Miguel, armed men stopped the Bajiogo van and stole the vehicle and the foreigners’ belongings (including passports). The Canadians were able to fly out of México with no passports, but the Americans remain in town until they obtain new passports from their embassy.

Mondragón said his driver took that road because of roadwork in progress in San Juan del Río. Taking the road to Celaya saves two hours, especially when taking advantage of the new road to Palmillas, he explained. “The targets are not visitors but Sanmiguelenses,” he said. “The authorities say that nothing happens in the World’s Best City, but it does.”

Mondragón also commented that in some cases, the authorities have filed a criminal complaint, and have even said “I am sorry,” but they have not done what it takes to prevent the attacks. “The entrances and exits to the city are not safe anymore,” said Mondragón.

Not the first time

In March 2017 at 2pm, he added, one of their cars was stolen from a driver on his way to Del Bajío International Airport via the new road to Guanajuato. The car was recovered two hours later by state authorities.

In March 2018 at 2am, a BajioGo driver and male passenger going to the Querétaro Airport were carjacked close to La Monja. They were assaulted and abandoned close to a dam.

In September of this year, at 9am, a BajioGo driver was pumping gas at the El Pípila Pemex station when the driver was mugged and the vehicle stolen. A federal police car was passing by and followed the thieves but lost them in the San Antonio neighborhood. The robbery was reported to 911, and, according to Mondragón, the company tried to file a criminal report, but the 911 personnel said that they could not file the report at that moment.

The company found the car abandoned in San Antonio the next day, but when BajioGo representatives asked the Ministerio Público (District Attorney) to cancel the robbery report, they were told that the DA’s office had not registered the robbery. “The 911 [staff] did not [report it] either. They may have forgotten [to do so].”
Now it is the authorities’ turn

Mondragón assured us that BajioGo is doing everything it needs for the safety of its passengers. All the company’s vehicles are equipped with GPS, and the company investigates its drivers before hiring them. “We have known our drivers for 15 years. Their families live here in San Miguel,” he said. “Now it is the authorities’ turn to guarantee the safety for everybody.”

Press release

Atención asked the local government to make a statement on the case, and the government sent a press release stating that the city does not have jurisdiction over the road where this occurred. It is a federal road maintained and policed by the federal government.

However, the release said, San Miguel’s public servants stand ready to work with the state and federal government “for the safety of those that live in and visit San Miguel de Allende.”

According to the document, Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal had a telephone conversation with the state secretary of security, Álvar Cabeza de Vaca, “expressing to him his concern for the safety of the road.”

“We agreed to work together to strengthen the local, state, and federal presence on those roads in order to have better safety conditions for everyone,” said the press release.

 

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