Mexico crime boss gunned down during plastic surgery

MEXICO CITY – Gunmen burst into a clinic in the Mexican city of Puebla on Saturday and killed notorious criminal Jesus Martin, known as El Kalimba, while he was on the operating table.

Police said the murder seemed to result from a dispute between rival gangs. They said Martin had been running an operation illegally siphoning fuel from pipelines.

Jesus Martin was known as a “Huachicolero” or a “chupaducto” (pipesucker). He had been running an operation that illegally tapped pipelines, stealing fuel for cheap resale.

The “Huachicoleros” siphon off the fuel and then sell it on at half the market price on busy highroads, costing Mexico’s oil company millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The gang bosses also donate fuel on special holidays to local communities to garner favour.

The business has become Mexico’s second-biggest organised crime after drug trafficking.

It mostly takes place in an area of central Puebla state where pipelines carry 40% of the country’s fuel and has begun to have a significant economic impact for Mexico’s oil company, Pemex, and local governments.

Jesus Martin wasn’t the first crime boss in Mexico to use plastic surgery to avoid death or arrest.

One feared Juarez drug cartel boss, Amado Carrillo, died from surgical complications in 1997.

The notorious Joaquim Guzmán, known as El Chapo, was captured in 2014 despite changing the shape of most of his features while on the run.

In April, the Mexican Congress approved a bill to increase sentences for fuel stealing to up to 25 years in prison.