Looking for illegal pipeline taps in Cuernavaca. Looking for illegal pipeline taps in Cuernavaca.

Pipelines run beneath homes in Cuernavaca

Homeowners offered free gas, 3,000 pesos to look the other way

Longtime residents of Cuernavaca, Morelos, are learning that their homes have been built over active pipelines thanks to the activity of huachicoleros, or fuel thieves, who are stealing from them.


And the thieves are picking up their pace in the municipality.

A woman who has lived for two decades in the town of Ahuatepec, located in the northern part of Cuernavaca, began seeing unusual after-dark activity near her house five months ago. She soon realized that a pipeline was buried there and thieves were tapping into it.

“They offer gasoline and 3,000 pesos [US $162] to keep those of us living here quiet,” the woman told the newspaper El Universal.

About seven kilometers of pipelines run below that part of Ahuatepec, part of a fuel distribution system that runs from Mexico City to a Pemex plant in Jiutepec.

“The situation is very complicated because the pipelines run below homes; they’re a risk for the population due to pipeline tapping and water contamination,” said the director of the Cuernavaca water department.


Cuernavaca’s Civil Protection director criticized Pemex yesterday for not making routine inspections to look for pipeline taps. Enrique Clemente Gallardo said many taps could be avoided if the state oil company made regular rounds to “verify, check and look after its pipelines.”

But, he claimed, there is “no real willingness” on Pemex’s part to do so.

Civil Protection officials are doing that now, Clemente said, and the effort has been productive. So far this year they have identified 20 taps in the northern region of the municipality whereas during all of last year there were 35, a situation he described as worrying.

Authorities found 478 illegal pipeline taps in the state last year, some of which were close or within the Chamilpa, Ocotepec, Milpillas, Montessori and Flores Magón districts of Cuernavaca.

Source: El Universal (sp), Diario de Morelos (sp)

Stories from our archives that you might enjoy

  • cooncats

    Well of course Pemex doesn’t do anything serious to stop this as their own employees are ether the perps or the enablers of the perps. Pemex is a giant theft and corruption machine that causes gasoline prices here to be much higher than the U.S. and this won’t change until Pemex is sold off to people who will clean it up.

  • WestCoastHwy

    Typical Mexican engineering infrastructure, and people thought the Keystone Pipeline System is bad. Anything and that means anything that is not locked up, encased in 4 feet of concrete, electrified, guarded for 24/7hrs 356 days….etc, is free open market in Mexico and even if it is, well, there are exceptions. Running anything, be it conduit, pipe, via train or register…etc, it will be stolen. It’s just the nature of the beast! Mexico is a criminal base Culture, and it runs deep in all it’s institutions. You just need to know how to play the game…..the Mexican Game. It’s hard for foreign pensioners, and other non-Mexicans to fathom this because your disbelief is more powerful than your reality, “this is Mexico.”

  • kallen

    “Cuernavaca’s Civil Protection director criticized Pemex” – Ah, how about a toll-free, anonymous hot-line?