(CN) – A manufacturer of custom hardware components claims a Texas company is holding “20 tractor loads” of machinery hostage in Mexico, and may turn the $3 million worth of equipment into scrap if it is not paid $170,000. Pomeroy Inc. says Border Opportunity Saver Systems seized the irreplaceable machinery after Pomeroy helped it set up a maquiladora across the border.
Pomeroy, which makes hardware components under the trade name Unique Balance, says it has lost several big clients and is “shut down and facing ruin” without its one-of-a-kind machinery.
The equipment, much of it made in the 1930s, is being held for ransom in Ciudad Acuña, across the border from Del Rio, Texas, according to the complaint in Del Rio Federal Court.
Pomeroy says Del Rio’s Border Opportunity violated contract by refusing to return the equipment. Pomeroy says it signed a 3-year manufacturing agreement with Border Opportunity and its cross-border plant Maquiladora de Coahuila in 2006. Pomeroy agreed to provide the machinery and tooling to make its components, and at the end of the contract, in 2009, Border Opportunity was to ship the equipment back to the U.S.
But when the contract expired the companies disagreed over a few issues, and Border Opportunity has refused to return the equipment until it is paid $170,000 in severance and outstanding invoices, Pomeroy says.
“In practical effect, defendants are holding the property hostage in an effort to coerce plaintiff into paying monies that are clearly not owed under the contract,” according to the complaint.
Pomeroy says it has been told that Border Opportunity is considering selling the machinery for scrap or selling it to Pomeroy’s competition.
Pomeroy wants a restraining order, it wants the equipment returned to Del Rio, and damages for breach of contract and conversion. It is represented by Jacques De La Mota of Del Rio is representing.
Maquiladoras are assembly plants in which parts are shipped to Mexico and assembled for re-export, taxed only by the value added by assembly. Aside from petroleum and illegal drugs, they are Mexico’s chief source of foreign currency.