Mexico City, Dec 28 (Xinhua/UNB) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday unveiled a plan to combat fuel theft "head on."
"The objective of this plan is to end theft and corruption, and I want to call on Mexicans to denounce it," he told the media.
As part of the plan, the government has set up a telephone hotline for anyone with information about the crime, which cost the nation some 60 billion pesos (3 billion U.S. dollars) last year.
"Three years of fuel theft equals a new refinery," said Obrador.
The plan also proposes boosting security at oil facilities and a constitutional reform to classify fuel theft as a serious crime.
According to the government, fuel theft is carried out not only by ordinary criminals and members of organized crime groups, but also by employees of the state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
Since some Pemex officials were arrested on Dec. 20, fuel theft has fallen by 17 percent, Obrador added.
Luis Cresencio Sandoval, head of the National Defense Ministry (Sedena), said that security would be stepped up at 58 Pemex facilities by deploying additional troops to better control distribution.