Fuel Thefts Increase Significantly in the Triángulo Rojo Region of Puebla State
LADB Article ID: 80238
By: Carlos Navarro
The Mexican government’s decision to eliminate a fuel subsidy at the start of 2017, which raised gasoline prices and caused major protests around the country, also prompted some Mexicans to siphon off fuel from pipelines owned by the state-run oil company PEMEX to sell on the black market at a discount. The government is yet to release statistics on financial losses suffered since January due to fuel theft. However, the practice of siphoning off gasoline, known as ordeña (milking of pipelines), has occurred for many years, particularly in areas where criminal organizations like the Zetas are active. Even though data on fuel thefts remains sparse, news coverage of the problem has increased significantly since the start of the year. One area in particular has attracted significant attention: the Franja del Huachicol, in Puebla state, a 131-km swath that begins in the municipality of Esperanza, near the border with Veracruz, and ends in the community of San Martín Texmelucan, on the border with México state. Also known as the Triángulo Rojo (Red Triangle), this is the region where the most fuel thefts occur in Mexico, according to the interior ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación, SEGOB). Because of incidents of pilfered gasoline in the Triángulo Rojo, Puebla ranked first in Mexico in terms of fuel thefts in 2016, surpassing Guanajuato and Tamaulipas states, according to PEMEX.
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