A federal judge today ordered three former Pemex officials to stand trial on charges of fuel theft and organized crime.
All three worked under the supervision of General Eduardo León Trauwitz, a former security chief at the state oil company who allegedly ordered security agents to “plant” illegal taps on petroleum pipelines.
The accused men are the former head of Pemex’s material assets department, Oziel Aldana Portugal, and Ramón Márquez Ledezma and José Carlos Sánchez Echavarría, both of whom worked in security roles.
Judge Rogelio León Díaz Villarreal set a period of four months for authorities to prepare their case against the accused, who will remain in preventative custody in México state as they await trial. The three men were arrested last weekend.
Sources with knowledge of the case told the newspaper Reforma that the organized crime unit of the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has already gathered large quantities of evidence linking the accused to the perforation of illegal taps on fuel pipelines and to criminal gangs.
Among the evidence are testimonies from three former Pemex security agents submitted to the FGR by lawyer Jorge García Adriano in March 2017. The declarations implicated at least 20 Pemex officials in fuel theft.
The newspaper Milenio reported earlier this year that the testimonies were apparently not taken into account by law enforcement authorities until the new federal government began its crackdown on fuel theft shortly after taking office last December.
General Trauwitz, who was allegedly the mastermind of the internal fuel theft racket, was granted a definitive suspension order last week against his arrest for any crime that doesn’t warrant preventative custody.
On May 31, the former Pemex security chief failed to attend a court hearing at which he was to be formally accused. Trauwitz’s lawyer said he didn’t appear in court due to an unspecified health problem.
Source: Reforma (sp)