Tampa Man Charged with Selling Gas on the Black Market

State Investigators say Tampa is a major Hub
Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 18:31:57-05

For most of us gas will never be cheap enough, but Jose Rodriguez was getting his fuel for free.

"He's a nice guy," says the clerk at the food market where Rodriguez would shop.

A nice guy who state investigators with the Department of Agriculture say was cheating the system.

They arrested Rodriguez on charges of using 18 fake credit cards to buy massive amounts of gasoline.

They say he filled up with illegal, hundred gallon fuel drums with the intent to resell the gas on the black market for pure profit.

Investigators arrested Rodriguez on the corner of Cortez and Broad streets in Tampa.

According to the arrest report,  he lives less than a mile away.

We knocked on his door. No one answered.

His neighbors and the workers at businesses near his home told us they know Rodriguez, but know nothing about his alleged secret illegal business.

Investigators tell ABC Action News that  Tampa is a major hub for the underground gas market.

Officials say there have been 2 Dozen arrests this year. Investigators say it starts with skimmers on pumps that download credit card information onto thumb drives and it ends with gas smugglers off-loading large quantities of fuel. As soon they pump it, investigators say they sell it.

So how do you protect yourself? You can always pay cash. And starting next year, gas stations will be required to put in chip card readers, making it harder for crooks to steal credit card info.