AUSTIN – The Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center (FCIC) assisted the Odessa Police Department in a large organized fuel theft case that resulted in the arrests of three men in Odessa on Wednesday, July 6. Other agencies who worked on the investigation include the Ector County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
The FCIC provided intelligence and investigative guidance to the agencies that assisted them in assembling enough information to charge the men with Engaging in Organized Criminal activity. They are accused of stealing 300 gallons of fuel at an Odessa convenience store by tampering with the fuel pump metering system. Investigators believe the men also were involved in stealing more than 3,600 gallons of fuel in other incidents, and are likely to be related to much more. This investigation is ongoing and is believed to involve other actors and other jurisdictions.
“Fuel thefts involving the manipulation of the pumps internal metering systems are increasing dramatically across the state. These thefts are coordinated efforts by organized crime groups, and account for millions of dollars in losses. The subjects perpetrating these crimes travel throughout the state, crossing law enforcement jurisdictional boundaries, which adds to the difficulty in running coordinated investigations. The Texas FCIC helps to coordinate and de-conflict, these investigations statewide, and often nationwide, while providing investigative assistance and analysis.” said Adam Colby, the FCIC’s Chief Intelligence Coordinator.
The investigation continues. Anyone who might have information that could be helpful in the investigation should call the Odessa Crime Stoppers tip line at 432-333-TIPS.
TDLR regulates motor fuel metering and quality and collects consumer complaints and merchant reports related to credit card skimmers, and the FCIC is part of TDLR’s regulatory responsibilities. The FCIC coordinates and de-conflicts law enforcement investigations in Texas and elsewhere. The Texas FCIC conducts, assists, and advises in financial crimes investigations. The FCIC staff also possess years of experience and specialized knowledge on skimming and fuel theft criminal operations. The Smith County District Attorney’s Office runs day-to-day operations at the FCIC, while TDLR reimburses Smith County for operating expenses related to the Center.