Thousands of Gallons of Fuel Regularly Stolen in Mexico

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WESLACO – Mexican state police stand 300 yards away from a dozen pickup trucks in a Mexican cornfield. It’s obvious people are filling plastic tanks in the back of the trucks with stolen fuel. But the state police can’t confront them.

It’s too dangerous. They’re waiting for the army to arrive.

State police have been ordered to avoid confrontations with those who support or are hired by fuel thieves. Events like this have led to fires or gunfights in the past.

"When we do an operation to detain these persons or to recover hydrocarbon, several times they get women and children in front of them as human shields to avoid capture,” said Jesus Morales, a top police official in the Mexican state of Puebla.

Thousands of gallons of gasoline are stolen on an average day. Authorities said of all the fuel stolen, only 10 percent is sold to the public. The other 90 percent goes to big business groups.

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