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Mexican police arrest 23 for gas theft
Last Updated: 2018-07-12 13:15 | Xinhua
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MEXICO CITY, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Mexican police detained 23 people suspected to be part of a criminal ring operating with gas stolen from pipelines in central Mexico, said the Mexican attorney general (PGR) on Wednesday.

Israel Lira, deputy attorney general specializing in organized crime of the PGR, said at a press conference that police reviewed several estates during their research on businesses with ties to the theft of gas from the pipelines belonging to state-owned oil company Pemex.

The arrests took place in the central states of Mexico and Puebla from Friday to Monday. Agents from the PGR and federal police secured seven sites, 139,998 liters of hydrocarbons, 91 vehicles, 999,700 pesos (52,448 U.S. dollars), drugs and fire arms.

Judges from the two states ordered the 23 people arrested to remain jailed after they were charged with possession and illicit storage of hydrocarbons, among other crimes, Lira said.

Mexican authorities will continue operations against the financial structures of criminal groups as a way of reducing their economic power, Lira said.

The government has estimated that theft from the Pemex pipelines resulted in annual losses of close to 20 billion pesos (1.048 billion dollars).

Mexico's security agencies have said that drug cartels have found their way into this crime which in the past was committed by local bands of thieves.

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