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Mexican Authorities Target Mayors for Involvement in Fuel-Theft Schemes

LADB Article ID: 80356
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-07-26
By: Carlos Navarro

Authorities arrested Pablo Morales Ugalde, mayor of Palmar de Bravo in Puebla state, in early July, on charges of using resources of illicit origin at his four service stations. Morales Ugalde is accused of colluding with criminal organization to obtain fuel stolen from pipelines owned by PEMEX, the state-run fuel company, at discount prices, and reselling the gasoline to the public. Palmar de Bravo is in the heart of 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. The region, also known as the Triángulo Rojo (Red Triangle), has been the center of fuel thefts from pipelines that transport gasoline and diesel from a refinery in Minatitlán in Veracruz state to the Mexico City metropolitan area. Authorities have also opened fuel theft investigations against more than a dozen other mayors in the Franja del Huachicol and nearby municipalities, according to Miguel Leyva, who oversees federal cases of assault and vehicle theft for the federal attorney general’s office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR).

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