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Found: A Secret Gas Pump Hidden by a Mexican Altar

The Virgin of Guadalupe had become a font of illegal fuel.

Just one example of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This one happens to be located in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Just one example of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This one happens to be located in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Artotem/CC BY 2.0

The Virgin of Guadalupe is sometimes called the “Patron Saint of Mexico,” and devotional altars to the holy woman can be found all across the country. But now she might also be referred to as the “Patron Saint of Illegal Gas,” after police in the town of San Martin Texmelucan—about 70 miles east of Mexico City—discovered an illegal fuel pump hidden within one of her shrines.

Fuel smuggling is a long-standing issue in the country, with smugglers tapping legitimate fuel pipelines and diverting some of it to makeshift fill-up stations, and now it seems like the smugglers are trying some holy new tactics to hide their stolen gas lines.

According to the Associated Press, local police discovered the secret gas line by following a trail of fuel to what appeared to be a regular altar to the Virgin. When they got closer, they noticed that there was a strange red hose poking out of it. There were also a handful of suspicious “customers” who took off running as the cops got wise to the scheme.

All said, they rounded up six people who were looking to fill up at the tap. Assumedly, the Virgin’s altar was stripped of its material gifts.