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No paramedics in this ambulance, just drums of fuel. No paramedics in this ambulance, just drums of fuel.

Petroleum thieves turn to other sources of funds after pipeline shut down

Gas stations report double-digit sales increases after Sinaloa pipeline stops pumping

Shutting down a pipeline in Sinaloa has left thieves looking other sources of funds, and boosted sales of fuel at gas stations.

Pemex shut down a stretch of pipeline in February between the cities of Guámuchil and Culiacán due to the high incidence of illegal pipeline taps and the ensuing damage to infrastructure.

On July 24, Pemex Logistics announced that the pipeline would remain out of service until further notice while it continued to assess the damage and determine whether it could be repaired.

Ricardo Jenny del Rincón of the State Council for Public Security said there were 322 illegal pipeline taps in the state between January and July, up 70% over last year.

One effect of shutting off the flow of fuel was felt by local gas stations. They reported increases in sales of up to 30% after suffering declines of 50% to 70%.

But now others are suffering as the criminals turn to other illicit activities, such as stealing vehicles, machinery and products from local farmers.

However, the huachicoleros, as the petroleum thieves are called, are still busy elsewhere in the country and in some cases are coming up with unique methods of moving their product.

In Hidalgo, state police discovered 1,600 liters of stolen fuel in an ambulance

An anonymous tip led them to check the vehicle as it was traveling on the Pachuca-Sahagún highway. Instead of a patient, it was carrying eight drums of fuel reported stolen in Tlalnepantla, México state.

Two people were taken into custody.

Source: El Universal (sp), El Norte (sp)

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