Rail Theft in Mexico on the Rise
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Rail Theft Increasing in Mexico Rail theft has increased in Mexico over the past six months. Theft from containers has generated substantial losses to Ferrocarril Mexicano (Ferromex), Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM) and their customers. According to Ferromex, theft from/of containers generated losses of $95 million pesos ($7 million USD) in 2011. About $4 million pesos ($300,000 USD) of the total amount involved loads of agricultural products and the remaining $91 million pesos ($6.7 million USD) involved metal loads, mainly aluminum and scrap metals. According to a recent Ferromex report, the locations with the highest theft rates in 2011 were: (1) Las Juntas in the municipality of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state; (2) the Irapuato–Apase highway in Guanajuato state; (3) the metropolitan region of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon state; (4) the cities of Celaya and Salamanca in Guanajuato state. In Guanajuato state groups of underage gang members have been killed during confrontations with the Federal Police. Other hot spots for rail theft are the Port of Lazaro Cardenas and close to Ciudad Valles in San Luis Potosi. Rail theft has also been increasing over the past six months in the states of Tamaulipas and Sinaloa. Police recently captured 45 members of an organized gang that targeted in-transit rail containers of metals passing parallel to the San Luis Rio Colorado highway in Sonora state. This large gang, which was responsible for hundreds of metal thefts, made its profits by recycling the metals. The state of Guanajuato has been one of the most affected by rail theft. Most thefts in Guanajuato occur at night when trains stop or slow down in rural areas. Some families in the city of Celaya are suspected of regularly stealing corn from rail containers for years, usually to sell to local stores. Police have been blamed for turning a blind eye to these thefts, and some believe the police receive a percentage of the sale price. Latest Incidents Eight members of a gang specializing in stealing cargo from train containers were captured in Queretaro on November 3 after attempting to steal a load of construction materials from a Ferromex container in the municipality of El Marques, Queretaro. Three cargo thieves were captured on October30 while attempting to steal sacks of grain from a Ferromex container in the municipality of El Santo, Jalisco. The criminals were transferring the sacks into their own trailer, parked next to the train, when police arrived. The authorities recovered the entire load of 30 large sacks of corn and 38 sacks of wheat. On October 18 a group of cargo thieves stole 30 plasma televisions from a train container in the municipality of Tezontepec de Aldama, Hidalgo state. Even though the train had an escort, authorities have been unable to determine exactly when the theft occurred. The TVs were valued at $150,000 pesos ($11,169 USD).