Fuel Theft Has Consequences

At least 21 people died and more than 70 were injured when fuel thieves drilled into a gasoline pipeline to steal fuel.

If you believe the headlines in the major newpapers and other media sources in Mexico and the USA, then you may think that this gas pipeline simply exploded on its own, out of the blue, without warning. Nothing could be further from the truth though.

Here is how the media would try to mitigate the crime. “A leaking gasoline pipeline exploded in Central Mexico on Friday killiing several people and injuring dozens”.

Now if they were somewhat intellectually honest, the headlines would read: “Fuel thieves and locals drilled into a gas pipeline causing a huge explosion that killed at least 85 and injured more than 70 others, including many children”. The exact number of dead is not known as some people were vaporized and/or burnt to nothing but a pile of ashes. But the narrative that the pipeline “just exploded” is the media or the government lying to the Mexican people.

The explosion was caused by the fuel thieves that had drilled at least one hole into the pipeline in the small town of Tlahuelilpan so that they could steal gasoline from the government of Mexico, via Pemex.

Video before the explosion shows dozens of men, women and children with plastic containers gathered below a huge geyser of gasoline erupting 20-30 feet high out of the hole drilled in the pipeline. It was a festive atmosphere as women and children were running back and forth in the fuel and vapors while others filled buckets and containers with the “free” gasoline.

Then someone possibly decided to smoke a cigarette or something equally moronic and the vapor/gas exploded in a huge fireball hundreds of feet high. It could be seen for kilometers. You could hear the people screaming and you could see people running away in flames, then falling down and dying.

The Mexican state oil company, Pemex, blamed the fire on “the manipulation of an illegal tap”. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador last month declared an offensive against fuel theft and this blast will further cement the government’s crusade against this $3 billion per-year illegal industry.

The “leak” was reported at 5pm local time to the Hidalgo state police. They sent policemen to the site, where they sat idly by taking videos, at a safe distance, as dozens upon dozens of people stole fuel and walked or drove away. They never told the people to leave, or tried to prevent them from stealing the fuel.

Then a full 2 hours later, someone created a spark and the pipeline burst into flames. Now the MSM in Mexico, which is just as lying and corrupt as the media is in the US, is reporting that the pipeline was “leaking” and that later it “burst into flames” as if all of this were organic.

Yes, the pipeline was leaking… Because thieves decided to drill holes into a gas pipeline. And yes, it burst into flames… Because these same thieves decided to light a cigarette or otherwise created a spark. Duhhh…

It seems as if these people didn’t know or didn’t care that gasoline vapor is highly explosive and flammable. It’s not something we play around with in the US.

After taking office on Dec. 1, 2018, López Obrador launched an offensive against fuel thieves. In the first 10 months of 2018 fuel thieves had drilled 12,581 illegal taps into Pemex’s pipelines, stealing millions of barrels of fuel worth billions of dollars. This has merely exacerbated the theft problem, at least in the short term.

The cartels have entered into the business of stolen fuel as it’s very easy to steal and sell, and they don’t even have to smuggle it to the US to sell. They buy the loyalty of entire neighborhoods by giving the people free gas to act as lookouts and to confront and delay military patrols carrying out raids against the fuel theft gangs.

López Obrador has deployed over 3,200 Marines to guard the refineries, pipeline, and fuel tanker trucks, but to stop the problem, they’d need to deploy 32,000 Marines, which they don’t have. They’re simply putting a bandaid on a volcano.

This is not the first time citizens have been killed while stealing fuel or that they’ve caused huge explosions. It happens every year it seems and thousands of Mexicans have been affected, none for the good.

While it’s not clear whether Friday’s explosion and deaths would turn the people against the fuel theft gangs that prey on the impoverished villages that are built above the underground pipelines, it is clear that the Mexican people will continue to put themselves and their families in harm’s way to get gasoline for free rather than having to pay for it.