Mexico Kicks Off War on its Vast Black Market for Oil

“We’re not just talking about the theft of oil, but about a plan involving government insiders and a complex distribution system. It’s not easy to distribute and sell the pilfered contents of 600 pipelines each and every day.”

Mexico’s new government has launched a multi-pronged offensive against the rampant oil theft that is costing state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) billions of dollars a year and destabilizing entire swaths of the country. Upon its orders, around 4,000 federal police agents, soldiers, and marines will be posted to protect 58 Pemex facilities, six refineries, 39 supply terminals, and 12 pumping stations.

The government will also launch an investigation of civil servants and managers of Pemex’s logistics division suspected of involvement in the oil theft. President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador (AMLO for short) told a news conference his government would combat the theft “outside and inside” Pemex, saying authorities were also complicit in many of the crimes (as we have previously reported).

“This is the theft of national assets, of public funds, of money that belongs to all Mexicans,” he said. “We’re not just talking about the theft of oil, the tapping of the pipelines, but about a plan involving government insiders and based on a complex distribution system. After all, it’s not easy to distribute and sell the pilfered contents of 600 pipelines each and every day.”

Three officials at Pemex have already been arrested for facilitating the oil theft. All three have been sacked and will be facing criminal charges, Mexico’s Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said.

These are drastic measures for a drastic situation that keeps getting worse

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