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McCormick Comments on Mexico’s Illegal Oil Taps in ASIS International Article

June 20, 2023

ASIS International

Gladys McCormick

Gladys McCormick

Oil thefts in Mexico are nothing new, especially along the 3,000 miles of pipeline that stretch across the country. Such thefts are often facilitated with illicit taps along a line, sometimes crudely inserted and welded into a pipeline by fuel thieves, who are also called huachicoleros. 

“The whole huachicolero phenomenon, it’s been in play for a long time in Mexico,” explains Gladys McCormick, associate professor of history and Jay and Debe Moskowitz Endowed Chair in Mexico-U.S. Relations.

However, what was once a relatively local and contained crime is now another prevalent revenue source for organized crime groups in Mexico.

In the last 15 years, this kind of theft became much more organized and sophisticated as organized criminal networks have increasingly initiated fuel thefts, says McCormick. With the ability to leverage massive funds and paramilitaries, criminal cartels can acquire information about pipeline paths, valves and other infrastructure, she says.

Read more in the ASIS International article, “Seeking Revenue, Cartels Turn on the Fuel Tap.”

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