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Fuel theft discovered on pipeline at Merida-Progreso highway

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Army and federal police were called to the scene of a clandestine fuel tap in Yucatan. Photo: La Jornada Maya

A clandestine fuel tap was shut down by the Mexican Army and the federal police this morning at Kilometer 20 of the Merida-Progreso highway.

Pemex personnel discovered evidence thieves were siphoning fuel from an above-ground pipeline and reported the theft to authorities.

Later, engineers arrived to investigate the pipeline. No suspects were named.

Yucatan’s Federal Police Commissioner Roberto Rodríguez Rivero said his force remains vigilant against fuel theft, which has been an ongoing problem throughout Mexico.

The tap is not far from one last summer on the same pipeline. Two of seven alleged fuel thieves were killed in July 2018 when they accidentally blew up a pipeline they were attempting to tap.

Authorities also located two signs of clandestine taps on land near the bridge that leads to the San Ignacio police station.

Nationally, the crime cost the federal government more than US$3 billion last year alone, although President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declared victory in conquering the problem.

Less than four months after beginning a crackdown, shutting down many pipelines, Lopez Obrador said his administration had reduced fuel theft by 95 percent. “We managed to defeat the fuel thieves,” he said.

Sources: La Jornada Maya, New York Times

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