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Defense Secretary Sandoval in Pachuca this morning. Defense Secretary Sandoval in Pachuca this morning.

Petroleum theft a ‘socialized’ problem for 45 Hidalgo communities

But fuel theft has been reduced 53% in the state, President López Obrador said

Seven criminal organizations engaged in fuel theft are active in 45 communities in the state of Hidalgo, where the practice has become “socialized” and involves residents in both stealing fuel and shielding criminal gangs, the defense secretary said today.

At a press conference this morning in the capital, Pachuca, Luis Crescencio Sandoval González said authorities have found 886 illegal fuel taps, which have since been sealed with concrete, a measure that has been successful in preventing repeat taps at the same site.

He said 3,142 personnel have been posted to key locations around the state to carry out surveillance and security protocols. Sandoval said 227,560 liters of petroleum have been recuperated thanks to security operations.

President López Obrador told the press conference that his administration will increase support to anti-petroleum theft efforts in Hidalgo, and celebrated the success of those efforts to date, having reduced theft in the state by 53%.

Nationwide, he said, the number of barrels of petroleum stolen daily has dropped from 80,000 in November of last year to 4,000.

The president admitted that the government has had only limited success in persuading residents not to collaborate with petroleum thieves, but urged citizens from other parts of the state not to stigmatize people whose towns are plagued by the crime.

Source: Quadratín Hidalgo (sp), La Jornada San Luís (sp)

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