Mexico targets suppliers, buyers in move against fuel theft

From the Washington PostMEXICO CITY — Mexico is embarking on a strategy to combat illegal pipeline thefts that includes going after those who purchase and deal in stolen fuel as well as the thieves, the country’s treasury secretary said Tuesday.

Jose Antonio Meade said it’s a problem that costs Mexico somewhere between 15 billion and 20 billion pesos a year, or $780 million to $1 billion, and one that requires a holistic approach to solve.

Mexico’s government wants to reduce the siphoning of gasoline and diesel from illegal pipeline taps by attacking “not only the supply but also the demand,” Meade said, according to a transcript of remarks during a Q&A session released by the Treasury Department.

Besides quick-response actions against thieves, authorities must work to make the illicit business less profitable and make those who buy it face consequences, he said. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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