At least 13 people were arrested and 12 trucks were confiscated by police in Miami-Dade Wednesday as part of a crackdown on a massive fuel theft ring, officials said.
The arrests are part of what authorities are calling "Operation Fill 'Er Up." Officials said the suspects used stolen credit cards to fill up vans and trucks with gas that was then sold on the black market for half the original price.
"The gas is being sold to these sites for about half of what they paid for at the regular pumps and then the site makes about a 50 percent mark up," Miami-Dade Police Det. Argemis Colome said. "It makes it very dangerous. These vehicles have blown up in the past and you’re driving in a car that can combust at any moment."
Police said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made. Of the twelve vehicles confiscated, 10 had containers filled with fuel.
The 13 suspects face numerous charges including organized scheme to defraud, trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, fraudulently obtaining fuel and possession of an illegal tank or container in a vehicle.
The crackdown is related to February's arrest of 11 suspects who police say were also stealing fuel. Officials said the vans and trucks used to carry the gas are "rolling bombs."
"Any spark can cause an explosion in one of these vehicles. In the past we have had vehicles explode, we have had vehicles combust just pretty much sitting in a parking lot," Miami-Dade Police Det. Marcos Rodriguez said in February.
Police said they also found 156 stolen credit cards during Wednesday's bust, plus numerous counterfeit credit card encoders and paraphernalia.