Three Texas men were arrested by federal authorities Wednesday for allegedly stealing $1.5 million worth of oil from Eagle Ford shale sites operated by Newfield Exploration and Anadarko.

A federal grand jury indicted Victor Manuel Guerra Jr., Juan Martin Bernal and Carlos Samuel Pena last month, charging the three men with theft of oil from interstate shipment, wire fraud and money laundering.

Guerra, 37, is charged with two counts of theft from interstate shipment, 69 counts of wire fraud and 58 counts of money laundering.

Bernal, 49, and Pena, 25, are both charged with one count of theft from interstate shipment and 69 counts of wire fraud.

Bernal and Pena were arrested last month.

The group targeted sites operated by Woodlands-based Newfield Exploration, where Bernal was employed, and Houston-based Anadarko, Pena’s employer.

Guerra, owner of wastwater removal companies Las Lomas Vacuum Services and AVG Vacuum Service, used his company trucks to steal oil from an undisclosed number of Eagle Ford sites.

Guerra sold the stolen oil to third party buyers who paid him through wire transfers, the FBI said.

The group earned an estimated $1.5 million from the scheme.

“The vast expanse of the Eagle Ford Shale and the high level of oil and gas drilling and production in the area provide many opportunities for those inclined to cheat and steal,” United States Attorney Robert Pitman said.

The three men face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the money laundering and theft charges and up to a 20 year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for the wire fraud charges.


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