Mexican authorities said Sunday that, as part of the “Refuerzo Sonda” Operation, they have seized a ship, arrested 21 crewmembers, and shut down a warehouse presumably used to store stolen fuel along the Gulf of Mexico.

In coordination with the Security and Citizen Protection Ministry (SSPC), Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR), Mexico’s state oil company PEMEX, the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO), the Tax Administration Service (SAT), the National Intelligence Center (CNI,) the Energy Regulator Commission (CRE,) the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), and the Energy and Environment Agency (ASEA), navy personnel performed administrative supervision at the “Weatherford” storage unit and the “Blue Commander” ship in Tabasco and Veracruz, respectively.

The navy statement said the warehouse was located along a coastal highway in the state of Tabasco while the ship was anchored in the port of Coatzacoalcos in neighboring Veracruz state.

It said it found 16 storage tanks for fuel in the warehouse, along with five trucks. Two other trucks were found supplying the ship with apparently stolen fuel. Mexico’s Navy did not specify where the fuel had come from.


According to naval intelligence, the Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generación and the criminal group known as Sangre Nueva Zeta, a branch of the Los Zetas, are conducting fuel theft in the ports of Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche, for which they use storage units and ships.

The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been crusading against rampant fuel thefts, often from clandestine taps into pipelines, that it says have looted public finances.

Authorities say they found 10 million liters of stolen or illegally transported fuel between September 1, 2019, and June 30, as well as 3,780 illegal taps over the same period.

In the virtual forum held by the Lower Chamber, the commander of the High Command Headquarters of Mexico’s Navy, Admiral José Luis Arellano asserted that the Comprehensive Port Administrations API) found fuel theft, tax evasion, and lack of transparency.


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