HomeNewsBriefMexico Targets Oil Thieves
BRIEF

Mexico Targets Oil Thieves

MEXICO / 2 DEC 2014 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

According to Mexico's Attorney General's Office, authorities are tackling oil thieves, more than doubling the number of arrests made last year, a sign that Mexico wants to choke an illicit business thought to generate more than $1 billion a year in earnings for organized crime. 

 Excelsior reported that authorities made 1,415 arrests for oil theft during the first nine months of 2014, a 57 percent increase from the total number of arrests made the previous year. 

Additionally, the number of arrests made so far in 2014 represents about a third of all arrests for oil theft in the past nine years. Half of these arrests are concentrated in six states: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Sinaloa, and Nuevo Leon.

Those arrested were charged with stealing oil from Mexico's state-owned oil company, Pemex. Earlier this year the company said that it has lost an estimated $1 billion to oil theft in 2014 alone. The Attorney General's Office has registered nearly 9,000 incidents of illegal taps in Pemex pipelines since 2006, according to Excelsior.

InSight Crime Analysis

Oil theft has long been a significant problem in Mexico. Not only do criminal groups like the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel siphon oil from Pemex pipelines, there have also been reports of them stealing tankers and running networks of gas stations that sell their stolen fuel. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profile

Earlier in 2014, Mexico implemented a landmark series of oil reforms meant to open up the country's oil industry. With the possibility of more private oil firms working in Mexico on the horizon, this means the government is under increased pressure to assure investors that the country is a safe place to do business. This could be one reason why the number of arrests for oil theft has increased so significantly in 2014 compared to the previous year.

As Mexico continues to move against oil theft, the country would do well to scrutinize what type of internal corruption within Pemex could be facilitating the crime. An increased number of arrests may not actually be making Mexico's oil industry safer from organized crime if authorities are merely capturing low-level operatives rather than focusing on truly breaking up these sophisticated oil theft networks. As indicated in a 2011 lawsuit that Pemex filed in Texas, U.S. companies have also been involved in buying and processing Pemex oil stolen by criminal gangs.  

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

MEXICO / 20 JUL 2011

Poverty and lack of opportunity are supplying Mexico's drug trafficking organizations with waves of fresh recruits. However, the government has…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 14 JAN 2011

A Mexican security official in the state of Baja California said the Familia Michoacana, once one of Mexico's strongest…

MEXICO / 14 JAN 2013

The first ever survey of inmates in Mexico's federal penitentiaries paints a picture of a  prison population boom…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.