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Texas congressmen plead with Biden admin: Stop Mexican cartel gunmen stealing gasoline from U.S.

The incidents are part of an organized crime called “huachicoleo” – meaning the theft and illicit sale of motor fuel and adulterated alcoholic beverages.

Published: December 8, 2023 12:53pm

Three Texas congressmen say Mexican drug cartels are stealing and destroying imports of gasoline from the United States and are asking a top Biden administration official to help stop the problem.

The members – GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Democrat Reps. Vicente Gonzalez and Henry Cuellar – have appealed directly to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

In a Nov. 20 letter to Tai, Crenshaw says cartel members have forced the drivers of a dozen tanker trucks at gunpoint to dump imported U.S. gasoline into a field. The incident, according to the letter, occurred across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

The incidents are part of an organized crime called “huachicoleo” – meaning the theft and illicit sale of motor fuel and adulterated alcoholic beverages.

Such incidents are undermining trade efficiency, the letter argues.

In response to the thefts, the Mexican government has ordered a temporary restriction on imports of a dozen petroleum products in October, which the congressmen argue violates the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA).

“I believe this is yet another effort to nationalize its economy and renege on its commitments in the USMCA as a means of empowering its failing state-owned petroleum company,” the letter states.

The ban on imported petroleum products, the congressmen explain, heavily impact the districts they represent, as well as the greater United States. The USMCA produced over $1.8 trillion worth of trade in goods and services in 2022, which was important to the Texas’ GDP and jobs.

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