Mexico is home to one of the most corrupt societies on planet Earth, ranking 138th out of 180 spots in terms of not being corrupt, where first place belongs to the least corrupt country, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, which is published by Transparency International.
Cartels essentially run the country, openly growing cannabis and opium poppy fields to sell and process then sell, respectively, almost exclusively to the United States, the largest drug consumer in the world. These drug cartels also engage in human trafficking, ranging from getting illegal immigrants across the Mexican-United States border and into the land of opportunity, all the way to smuggling kidnapped women to use for prostitution.
One of the newest, most innovative ways that Mexico’s drug cartels have expanded their operations is by tapping into gas and oil pipelines, siphoning off as much fuel as possible, then selling it at discount prices to gas stations, refineries, and distributors.
All of this fuel is stolen directly from Mexico’s government-owned petroleum business, known as Petróleos Mexicanos, though most people refer to it as Pemex, its trade name. It is believed that, according to the Mexican Association of Gas Station Owners, that fuel stolen by established drug cartels and smaller criminal interests alike makes up some one-third of all the gasoline sold in Mexico in a day’s time. This organization also estimates that some $21.7 million is generated in gross revenue each and every day from stolen fuel sales.
Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, the current Mexican President, has sworn to come down hard on corruption in Mexico. Earlier today, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, a high-ranking judge filed a warrant for the arrest of Emilio Lozoya, the now-former CEO of Pemex. His bank accounts have been frozen, as well as the other company that he owns, Altos Hornos de Mexico SA.
Emilio Lozoya, according to Bloomberg, was arrested due to his involvement in the sale of an industrial fertilizer manufacturing facility that didn’t work to Pemex for a whopping $475 million in 2014. The current Mexican administration indicates that the plant was worth just $50 million.
Lozoya was a former right-hand man of Enrique Peña Nieto, the most recent president of Mexico. It’s said that Lozoya took $10 million from Odebrecht, a Brazilian building company, in the form of bribes to wrongfully and out contracts to Odebrecht.