HomeNewsBrief‘Mexico Gas Vendors Forced to Buy Fuel Stolen by Gangs’
BRIEF

‘Mexico Gas Vendors Forced to Buy Fuel Stolen by Gangs’

MEXICO / 19 JUL 2012 BY TRACEY KNOTT EN

According to Mexico’s national association of gas businesses, criminal groups reportedly force gasoline vendors to buy stolen fuel, calling attention to the increased availability of stolen gas in Mexico service stations.

On June 15, the National Organization of Petroleum Retailers (Onexpo) filed a complaint with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, alleging that criminal groups are forcing gas station owners to sell fuel stolen from the pipelines of state oil company Pemex.

Gas vendors have reportedly faced threats in many states where criminal groups are most active, including Coahuila, Veracruz, Nuevo Leon, and Michoacan. According to Onexpo, one of the states most affected is Zacatecas, better known for its mining industry.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Pemex has struggled with rising fuel theft. In 2011, nearly three million barrels of petroleum, valued at roughly $475 million, were stolen from Pemex. The thefts were an increase of 52 percent from the previous year.

Much of the increased theft has been blamed on organized crime. Pemex has filed multiple lawsuits against foreign oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell for buying fuel stolen by Mexican cartels. The Zetas in particular are believed to have become increasingly involved in fuel theft, as highlighted by the recent discovery of over 1.5 million liters of stolen oil in Veracruz, a Zetas stronghold.

Most of the prominent cases of fuel theft in Mexico have involved the sale of stolen fuel to local and US refineries, or other bulk users of gas in Mexico. The sale of stolen fuel in ordinary gas stations is a newer phenomenon. While Onexpo’s allegations apparently suggests that criminal groups have become more aggressive in forcing service stations to buy stolen wares, it is also possible that the business association filed the complaint in part to protect vendors from accusations of knowingly buying illegal fuel. 

Either way, Onexpo’s complaint does suggest the thieves are increasingly using local gas stations in Mexico as a primary distributor for their stolen product. This means not only will Pemex have to increase their monitoring of the oil pipelines targeted by thieves, but the company may also have to expand their audits of stations across Mexico.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

MEXICO / 23 JAN 2018

Mexico’s state oil company says it experienced record levels of fuel theft in 2017, but the underlying drivers of…

COLOMBIA / 1 FEB 2013

The latest report from the European Police Office describes increasingly diverse and complex trafficking routes and criminal ties between the…

JUDICIAL REFORM / 1 FEB 2013

Following the release of Florence Cassez, a French woman jailed in Mexico for kidnapping, analyst Alejandro Hope offers…

About InSight Crime

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…