U.S. construction materials company Vulcan Materials said on Monday Mexican security forces illegally took possession last week of its port terminal in southern Mexico, amid an extended lawsuit over its nearby limestone mining activities.
The incident, which reportedly took place last Tuesday night at the U.S. firm's Sac Tun quarry about 7 miles (10 km) from the popular tourist resort of Playa del Carmen. It follows a 5-year fight with the Mexican government over Vulcan's concessions punctuated by sharp criticism from the country's president last year.
Vulcan, which markets crushed stone, sand and gravel as well as asphalt and ready-mixed concrete, said in a statement on Sunday that workers from Mexican cement company Cemex accompanied the security forces last week as part of what they described as the unlawful takeover of their port terminal.
"We are shocked in Cemex and in the Mexican government entities that supported this reckless and reprehensible armed seizure of our private property," Vulcan said in the statement.
The company asserts the government's decision to shut down its operations last year was also illegal.
Vulcan declined to say how last week's action was illegal or who is currently in control of its terminal.
Neither Cemex nor Mexico's security ministry immediately responded to a request for comment.
The Alabama-based firm has been unable to quarry and ship construction materials since the Mexican government shut down its operations last May over concerns of harmful impacts of underwater limestone mining on the local environment and water table.
At the time, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blasted the impacts as an "ecological catastrophe."
Video footage shared on Fox News from the Sac Tun quarry, which Vulcan confirmed, shows around a dozen security officers entering the site in police trucks, as well as a Cemex-branded pickup truck.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Katie Britt called the incident a "militarized seizure," with the Alabama Republican adding it significantly impacted what she described as important U.S. infrastructure and energy projects.
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