Drug Kingpin & Transnational Crime
February 26, 2019

Revolving Door of Corruption: Former Mexican Politicians Benefit from Fuel Sector Theft




Amid the recent death of dozens in a gasoline pipeline explosion and billions lost by state-owned fuel company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the newly inaugurated Mexican government has moved to address the worsening fuel theft crisis ravaging the country.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has ordered the shutdown of pipelines beleaguered by fuel theft. Guarded tankers are now delivering gasoline, which has prompted long lines at the country’s gas stations.

Beyond the headlines of the deadly blasts, financial losses, and logistical chaos, the crisis is rooted in criminal bands and corrupt politicians scheming to extract gasoline from the country’s pipeline infrastructure. A portion of this stolen fuel is often then sold by the same gas stations that are licensed as PEMEX vendors.

In January 2019, Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) issued a list of blocked companies and individuals, including local politicians and their firms, under investigation for their role in oil theft, according to Mexican media.

Among those named on the list sent to Mexico’s banks were Jesus Everardo Villarreal Salinas and Jose Luis Romero Calzada, former politicians from the states of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi, which are hotbeds of fuel theft.



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