Mexico deploys 4,000 troops, copters against pipeline theft
MEXICO CITY — 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.