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Mexico; United States: Return of Stolen Oil Products Proceeds

(Aug. 24, 2009) On August 11, 2009, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that $2.4 million will be repatriated to Mexico as a result of a joint U.S.-Mexico investigation of the smuggling of Mexican petroleum products into the United States. According to a press release issued on the occasion of the repatriation of funds:

In June 2007, ICE and a Mexican customs administrator provided information regarding the smuggling of stolen PetrĂ³leos Mexicanos (PEMEX) petroleum products into the United States. Under Mexican law, only PEMEX and its authorized agents have the legal authority to sell and distribute its products abroad. During the investigation, ICE agents from San Antonio and Houston executed 10 federal search warrants on bank accounts in Texas.

As part of this ongoing and cooperative investigation, Donald Schroeder, the president of Trammo Petroleum, was charged in the Southern District of Texas in May and pleaded guilty to conspiring to receive approximately $2 million in stolen Mexican petroleum products. Schroeder faces a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment at his sentencing in December 2009. Trammo Petroleum agreed to pay $2.4 million to Pemex as restitution to partially compensate it for its damages. The company was also fined $2 million for their involvement.

The investigation continues with additional individuals and companies still under investigation.

(Press Release, ICE, ICE Returns $2.4 million to Mexico as a Result of a Bilateral Investigation: ICE-Led Investigation Uncovers Stolen Petroleum Products from Mexico into the US (Aug. 11, 2009), available at