HomeNewsBriefBlacklisted by the US, Mexico Gas Stations Still in Business
BRIEF

Blacklisted by the US, Mexico Gas Stations Still in Business

MEXICO / 23 MAR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The United States has blacklisted nearly 20 gas stations in Mexico for their financial ties to organized crime over the last 10 years, yet a significant number are still operating and have franchise agreements with state oil company Pemex.  

Between 2004 and 2014, the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted 19 fuel service stations in Mexico for laundering the profits of organized crime groups, reported El Universal. Nine of those companies blacklisted by OFAC are still operating, and have contracts with Pemex, according to El Universal. 

An official from Mexico's Finance Ministry told El Universal that the Financial Intelligence Unit -- the Mexican government body responsible for investigating money laundering -- opens a probe into any company designated by the US Treasury. However, if the standard of evidence of wrongdoing needed to file a report to Mexico's Attorney General's Office, authorities cannot bring legal action against the suspected businesses. 

Among the blacklisted companies, 90 percent are located in either Sinaloa or Jalisco state, according to El Universal. All of the fuel companies still in business are linked to either the Sinaloa Cartel or to drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, a co-founder of the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1980s, who was released from a Mexican prison in August 2013 (see El Universal's graphic below).

Companies blacklisted by the OFAC have their US assets blocked, and are prohibited from doing business with US companies or citizens. 

Pemex graph

InSight Crime Analysis

While a designation by the OFAC freezes a company's assets in the US, this does not prevent it from continuing to run its business in Mexico. Nevertheless, there is still responsibility on Pemex to do a thorough background check on the service stations that operate under their franchise. The fact that nearly half of the gas stations blacklisted by the OFAC since 2004 still have contracts with Pemex suggests the state oil company isn't doing nearly enough when it comes to scrutinizing or controlling its franchises.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

It is hard to see how excluding those service stations blacklisted by the US would not be in Pemex's own best interest, as these front companies are dedicated to laundering profits for the criminal organizations that steal Pemex's product, among other illicit activities. Pemex has taken other dramatic measures to address the problem of oil theft, including announcing that it will stop sending fully refined fuel through the more than 14,000 kilometers of pipeline that cross Mexico. But cleaning up its franchise operations would seem like another obvious move that would help Pemex combat its billion-dollar losses thanks to organized crime. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

GULF CARTEL / 30 JAN 2020

The Gulf Cartel is one of the oldest and most powerful of Mexico’s criminal groups but has lost territory…

ARGENTINA / 6 NOV 2013

Argentina is now a key source of precursor chemicals for Mexican cartels, raising the question as to whether these transnational…

MEXICO / 26 APR 2013

A Mexican newspaper has denied officials' claims that one of its photographers, killed this week, was targeted because of his…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.