HomeNewsBriefMexico State Oil Workers Involved in Fuel Theft: Police
BRIEF

Mexico State Oil Workers Involved in Fuel Theft: Police

MEXICO / 9 JAN 2017 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

As Mexico is rocked by protests against a hike in fuel prices, authorities have highlighted the collusion and corruption facilitating the fuel theft that costs the Mexican state oil company hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

The technical knowledge required to carry out oil thefts by tapping pipelines suggests the collusion of insiders at Petróleos Mexicanos, better known as Pemex, according to General Benjamin Grajeda Regalado, the head of the Gendarmerie division of Mexico's Federal Police.

"The people that do these clandestine siphons certainly must have knowledge of how to bore into the pipes and fix the valves," the general told El Universal.

Grajeda Regalado's allegations were echoed by security expert Martin Íñiguez, who told El Universal the oil theft trade involves the collusion of major organized crime networks, Pemex workers and corrupt local officials.

"There are local mayors who, with their own police officers, protect the members of organized crime groups that carry out this theft. They are associated with people from Pemex, with elements from the municipal, state and federal police and no doubt even the governors themselves," Íñiguez said.

Between 2006 and 2015, 123 Pemex workers and 12 former workers were arrested on charges of fuel theft, according to El Universal. In the past several years, the Mexican government has opened thousands of investigations of oil theft, though relatively few resulted in convictions.

Pemex estimates thieves steal around $1.4 billion of gasoline a year. The most recent figures available suggest the number of clandestine pipeline taps discovered continued to rise in 2016. After leaping from the 1,635 discovered in 2010 to 5,252 in 2015, Pemex recorded in 2,221 in the first five months of 2016.

In an effort to combat the trade, Pemex has recently acquired a raft of new high-tech military monitoring equipment from Israel, reported Milenio.

InSight Crime Analysis

Over the last week, Mexico has plunged into a social crisis after President Enrique Peña Nieto's announcement of a 20 percent rise in fuel prices sparked angry -- and occasionally deadly -- protests across the country.

The announcement lit the fuse of an already heated situation linked to fuel thefts. In December, Mexicans faced widespread fuel shortages, which authorities blamed partially on a sudden increase in fuel theft, the New York Times reported.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Oil Theft

Although Peña Nieto has said the price hike is to bring fuel prices in line with international market value rather than to make up for losses from theft, the ongoing failure to slow the rise of theft and resale of oil only heightens the sense of a government struggling to exert control over a critical natural resource sector.

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

CONTRABAND / 8 JUN 2022

The Jalisco is allegedly powering the production of 12 percent of all Mexican-made illicit cigarettes, stepping up efforts across the…

MEXICO / 25 MAY 2021

The Cárteles Unidos was formed by the Cartel de Tepalcatepec, the Viagras, and others, to combat the Jalisco Cartel in…

EXTORTION / 7 OCT 2021

Despite the pandemic’s economic fallout being felt throughout the Riviera Maya, cartels have continued their extortion schemes in Mexico's popular…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…