Petrol theft offers Mexico’s drug gangs a new revenue stream

5/15/2017 Financial Times

energy - oil barrelsBlack smoke billowed from the burning tyres blocking a Mexican motorway in a five-hour stand-off after a night of clashes in which four soldiers and seven civilians died. The authorities are now urgently deploying more than 2,000 soldiers, plus helicopters, drones and GPS tracking, to close in on gangs. Welcome to the new frontline in Mexico’s war on crime.

The illicit substance that triggered the shoot-outs and mobilised President Enrique Peña Nieto to order a nationwide crackdown was, however, no narcotic. It was petrol.

The drama in the central state of Puebla earlier this month — coming days after the authorities’ victory with the arrest of the presumed successor to the legendary Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán — offered a painful reminder that
cartel crime is no longer confined to cocaine.

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