(RepublicanPress.org) – Fuel theft in Mexico has been a long-time issue, and violence surrounding thefts is nothing new. CBS News reported that around 5,600 taps placed illegally were found nationwide in 2023. So, while gasoline theft is all too common, the discovery of bodies in the wake of it is an unfortunate deviation from the norm.
On January 10, the news source reported that nine unidentified men were found dead inside two vehicles near a pipeline to the north of Mexico City. The deaths are currently being investigated, and the circumstances are unknown, but police suspect fuel theft may have been involved. Police Chief Ángel Rangel Nieves of San Juan del Rio City revealed the vehicles containing the deceased had Hidalgo license plates, a neighboring state known for being one of the many centers of fuel theft.
Authorities in central Mexico said Tuesday they found the bodies of nine men in vehicles near a fuel pipeline. https://t.co/zpRgoUR0mO
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 10, 2024
The Mexican government has focused on locating and stopping sales of stolen fuel and has managed to briefly bring losses down by tracking the stolen goods down to roadside businesses and even licensed gas stations. However, losses have reportedly increased once again, reaching more than $1.1 billion in 2022. The Associated Press reported in October 2023 that cartel gunmen forced gas tanker trucks to surrender their contents in Matamoros, near the southern border. Afterward, Representative Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) wrote a letter to US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, asking her to take immediate action to address the ongoing problem.
In addition to the cost, fuel theft results in more violence between gangs and creates new and increased risks for residents. The nine men recently found were not the only victims of this dangerous activity. In 2019, CNBC reported that an explosion occurred in Hidalgo state after an illegally tapped pipe was left leaking. At least 134 people died as a result.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made fuel theft his focus since taking office in 2018.
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