A man who was identified as one of the big players in pipeline fuel theft in Puebla has diversified: officials have revealed that Roberto de los Santos de Jesús is one of the masterminds of train robberies in the region.
Officials in Veracruz and the Federal Police say “El Bukanans,” as he is known, presumably for a fondness for a popular scotch whisky blend, has assumed the leadership of the Sangre Nueva Zeta criminal gang, a Los Zetas cell, after former leader José Eduardo González Barreda was arrested in January 2016.
Under de los Santos, officials believe, the gang began targeting freight trains traveling from the city of Orizaba in Veracruz to the state of Puebla.
Yesterday, the government of Veracruz upped a 1-million-peso reward to 5 million pesos (US $254,000) for any information leading to his arrest.
De los Santos was a construction worker when he joined the ranks of the Acultzingo, Veracruz, municipal police in 2001.
But he left in 2012 and joined the Zetas cartel.
As the gang’s prominence later declined, de los Santos created a splinter cell called Los Bukanans, dedicated to fuel and vehicle theft, kidnapping and extortion. The gang leader set up his headquarters in the town of La Encrucijada in the Red Triangle municipality of Palmar de Bravo.
He moved to Veracruz after a failed arrest attempt in March last year and has now set up his command center in the municipality of Ciudad Mendoza, close to Puebla and his old stomping grounds.
A joint security forces operation has focused on the region, particularly in the city of Orizaba and the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla, where de los Santos is believed to have escalated his train robbery activities.
A major pileup of rail cars last Saturday has been blamed by rail operator Grupo México on sabotage by criminals intent on stopping trains to remove their cargo.
Source: El Universal (sp)