MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's Roman Catholic Church says pipeline fuel thefts involve entire towns, government officials and employees of the state-owned oil company and now constitute "one of the main threats to state power and the justice system."
The Archdiocese of Mexico said in an editorial Sunday that illegal pipeline taps "involve authorities in collusion with organized crime." It said employees of the state-owned Pemex oil company and businessmen are also involved.
Observers have long said thieves couldn't drill the risky taps unless they had inside information on pressure levels in the pipelines. Mexico's treasury secretary has said fuel theft costs the country between $780 million and $1 billion a year.
Clashes between the military and suspected fuel thieves killed 10 people recently in the central state of Puebla.