Mex­ico de­ploys 4,000 troops, copters against pipe­line theft

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

MEXICOCITY— Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Fri­day he has or­dered he­li­copters and 4,000 troops to guard the na­tion’s pipe­lines and fuel de­pots in an of­fen­sive against mas­sive fuel theft.

The he­li­copters are watch­ing for or­ga­nized gangs that drill il­le­gal taps into un­der­ground ducts car­ry­ing gaso­line and diesel. Lopez Obrador or­dered key pipe­lines shut down af­ter thefts soared re­cently.

Long lines con­tin­ued at gas sta­tions in Mex­ico City and out­ly­ing states Fri­day as tanker trucks strug­gled to sup­ply fuel nor­mally de­liv­ered through pipe­lines.

Most Mex­i­cans un­der­stood the need to crack down on $3 bil­lion per year in fuel thefts, but pa­tience was wear­ing thin.

“We are ask­ing for peo­ple’s un­der­stand­ing,” Lopez Obrador said.

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