The consumer protection agency Profeco has closed nine gas stations in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, for refusing to sell fuel to the armed forces.
Escorted by the soldiers, Profeco officials verified 12 gas stations which had been reported for refusing to sell fuel on Tuesday. Three of the gas stations were already out of service, and Profeco closed the other nine.
Officials put up signs on the gas pumps at the closed stations explaining that the businesses had been closed for illegal discrimination against consumers. But according to the gas stations, it was either refuse to serve security forces or face angry reprisals from organized crime.
In the evening, long lines formed at the gas stations that remained open in Nuevo Laredo. However, Profeco called on consumers not to panic, because 54 of the city’s 66 gas stations were still operating normally.
The action by Profeco was taken in response to a complaint by the state that gas stations were refusing service to security forces because of threats from the Northeast Cartel.
The problem started on Monday, September 2, when stations began refusing to sell fuel to the army and state police.
Police said that when they attempted to fill up the tanks, gas station attendants said they had received “orders from above” not to serve police. Attendants at one gas station said armed men had come by the station and threatened to kill them if they sold gas to the police.
The federal Attorney General’s Office is investigating the issue.