MEXICO CITY – Fuel theft has fallen about 30 percent so far this year in Mexico, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya said.
“Much remains to be done” to fight fuel theft, but the interagency task force created to fight this type of crime is producing results, Gonzalez Anaya told lawmakers.
The task force, which includes the Finance Secretariat, the Attorney General’s Office and Pemex, is investigating irregularities in sales patterns at service stations in an effort to detect fuel theft.
In 2016, authorities recovered 4 million liters of stolen fuel, with that figure rising to 11 million liters during the January to September period, Gonzalez Anaya told lawmakers on Wednesday.
Authorities have arrested 1,400 people and seized 5,000 vehicles in cases involving fuel theft this year, the Pemex CEO said.
Last year, authorities arrested 600 people for fuel theft and seized 2,600 vehicles, Gonzalez Anaya said.
Earlier this week, Pemex said it fired several workers at the Salamanca refinery for allegedly being involved in fuel theft, considered the No. 2 source of income for organized crime groups in Mexico.
Pemex loses between $780 million and $1 billion annually due to fuel theft, the Finance Secretariat said.
Theft of fuel from Pemex pipelines, known in Mexico as “milking,” has grown because of rising demand for fuel on the black market.