(Larry Payne/Florida Department of Agriculture via AP)
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A black market for diesel and gasoline has rapidly spread around the United States, with organized crime gangs using fraudulent credit cards to syphon millions of dollars in fuel from gas stations into large tanks hidden inside pickup trucks and vans.Agent Steve Scarince says Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are hot spots, together accounting for about 20 million gallons (75.7 million liters) a year in stolen diesel.Agents in the Los Angeles area surveilled a group with seven pickup trucks and SUVs with hidden fuel tanks holding up to 300 gallons each. For 10 months, they observed drivers using credit card information stolen from about 900 people to fill up three times a day. One gang used fraudulent credit cards for a month to steal $100,000 in diesel from two stations in central Florida.In 2015, a man driving a truck carrying 1,650 gallons of stolen diesel led police on a high-speed chase, weaving in and out of traffic on Interstate 5 before crashing into a highway barrier.
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