'Huachicoleros' steal natural gas in 7 states

Since last year, the amount of LP gas stolen by 'huachicoleros' has shown an exponential increase
'Huachicoleros' steal natural gas in 7 states
In 2017, according to official records, the total number of illegal LP gas extractions rose to 166 - Photo: Jorge Alvarado/EL UNIVERSAL
15/08/2018
13:34
Noé Cruz Serrano
Mexico City
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Apparently, stealing gasoline and diesel from Mexican Petroleums (PEMEX) has not been enough for ‘huachicoleros’ (fuel thiefs). As of late, the amount of liquid petroleum gas (LP) stolen by ‘huachicoleros’ has shown an exponential increase.

Through illegal perforations in the oil company’s pipeline network, Mexico’s organized crime has upgraded its strategy by stealing LP gas in seven different states which have become their operation centers, mainly in the State of Mexico and Puebla.

In addition to these states, natural gas thefts are also frequent in Querétaro, Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Veracruz, and Tlaxcala, according to PEMEX’s Juridic Division and Strategic Safeguard Sub-Directorate.

Information provided through the Transparency Platform on August 1 of the present year indicates that, between 2012 and 2017, organized crime has increased the number of illegal perforations for the extraction of LP gas by 133%.

In 2012, when this type of crime first became manifest, organized crime spread its tentacles throughout eight states in the country, performing 71 clandestine perforations to extract LP gas; 38 of these extractions happened in the State of Mexico, 11 in Hidalgo, 8 in Jalisco, 4 in Querétaro, 4 in Veracruz, 3 in Puebla, 2 in Guanajuato, and only one in Tabasco.

In 2017, according to official records, the total number of illegal LP gas extractions rose to 166, focused mainly in Puebla, with 61; the State of Mexico, with 44; Querétaro, with 42; Tlaxcala, 7; Guanajuato, 7; Veracruz, 4; and one in Hidalgo.

In 2018 only, there have been 119 illegal taps, which is equivalent to 72% of perforations performed in all of 2017.

PEMEX refused to disclose further information regarding repair costs, financial damage caused to specific municipalities, and the exact volume and value of the stolen goods.

On their CT-0894/2018 report, PEMEX declared said information as classified, since “it directly relates to strategies that have been set in place to fight fuel theft, which has become one of the main sources of income for criminal organizations in Mexico.”

Illegal taps on PEMEX’s pipelines “have generated considerable economic losses for the State-owned company and its subsidiaries, which represents an important shortfall in resources. Insufficient revenues have only intensified the problem, which is why we need to develop a series of strategies to help us reduce fuel theft to a minimum so that these resources do not end up enriching criminal organizations and are instead used for the benefit of Mexican citizens,” the report added.

“Given the direct participation of criminal organizations in these illegal taps, when working on the prevention of fuel theft, the lives of government workers and law enforcement agents, as well as regular citizens are put at great risk.”

Allegedly, this is why the Mexican oil-company has considered that the disclosure of specific information on the illegal taps would directly affect undergoing crime-fighting strategies, as well as the state-owned company’s production.
 

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