Wanted poster for 'El Bukanas.' Wanted poster for 'El Bukanas.'

Five fuel thieves killed in Puebla gunfight

Gang leader 'El Bukanas' believed to be target of federal forces

Another five huachicoleros, or fuel thieves, have died in a confrontation with Marines in Puebla.

The state Attorney General’s Office said the dead are presumed members of the criminal gang headed by Roberto de los Santos de Jesús, also known as “El Bukanas.”

They were killed after a gunfight early this morning at a safe house in the municipality of Esperanza. Navy personnel were conducting a search of the property when the gangsters opened fire.

“El Bukanas” is believed to be connected to the Zetas cartel and responsible for fuel theft, kidnapping, extortion and highway robbery in the state’s Red Triangle zone where most of the pipeline thefts take place.

The governor of Veracruz today announced a one-million-peso reward for information leading to his detention.

Four presumed gang members and a Marine were killed during another gun battle last Friday in nearby Vicente Guerrero. Two other Marines were wounded.

Federal forces were apparently looking for the gang’s leader, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, when the confrontation took place.

One report suggested he succeeded in escaping from the Marines on Friday and some neighbors said they had no doubt that was who they were looking for.

But they also said that no one has sought him out at his house in the village of Moyotepec, located in the Puebla municipality of Ajalpan.

“It’s a damn mansion,” said one neighbor, who described gang members as “cool” but said they go around with assault weapons.

“They don’t get involved with anyone and no one gets involved with them.” They arrived in the area six months ago, said the neighbor, who requested anonymity.

They’re never seen during the day, only at night, when the late-model trucks come down from Moyotepec.

But authorities don’t approach “El Bukanas’” house or the gang boss himself, the witness said. A helicopter once made a few passes overhead but that was as close as they came.

Source: Milenio (sp), e-consulta (sp)

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