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GEO Group to acquire land near California detention center

Prison real estate investment trust GEO Group Inc. plans to buy land around the Mesa Verde immigration detention center it operates on Golden State Avenue in Bakersfield, Calif., according to Bakersfield.com.

The REIT will acquire and bulldoze the Bakersfield Dome events venue and the El Morocco Motel, both located near the facility. Chencho Madera, owner of the Dome, said he was told the purchase is part of the company's plans to expand the facility, according to the publication.

However, GEO Group Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations Pablo Paez said in an email to Bakersfield.com that the REIT is buying the land in order to create "a secure buffer" around the facility and has no plans to expand the detention center.