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Latino Daily News

Tuesday February 22, 2011

Drug Cartels Threatening Mexican Natural Gas Operators Unless Extortion Money Paid

There appears to be a new twist in the means by which Mexico’s drug cartels are earning money – blackmailing the countries oil drillers and threatening havoc.

Members of the violent Zeta cartel are threatening to attack natural gas well drillers and facilities if they are not paid protection money.  Los Zetas are demanding a fee from drillers in order to be able to operate in the northern part of the state, something they have been doing for centuries.

In one startling case of greed and fear, it is being reported that drug gangs were demanding a 10 percent fee for what PEMEX (the country’s nation oil company) was paying in gas contracts.  For the moment PEMEX has suspended drilling in that region until security can be enhanced.  Overall disruption has been minimal.

In another case gunmen showed up at an isolated work site in the state of Nuevo Leon threatening the employees and demanding their employer pay them protection money, the gunmen identified themselves as Zetas.