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Arrest, confiscation made in East Texas oil field thefts

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 11:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 11:49 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An undercover operation in East Texas leads to one person being arrested, after authorities busted up theft happening at Gregg County oil fields.

“Yesterday was the beginning of the actual operation that C-I-D has been working on for several weeks,” says Gregg County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Josh Tubb.

Wednesday Gregg County sheriff’s officers along with other law enforcement, culminated weeks of investigation by seizing four semi-trucks and a passenger vehicle from a location on Highway 42 near White Oak, all used in theft of oil products.

“They were able to make an arrest, they have seized 4 semi-trucks along with a passenger vehicle and an amount of U.S. currency,” the lieutenant says.

Weeks of undercover work culminated in the arrest of 21-year-old Roel Morales of Kilgore on charges of petroleum theft.

“Mr. Morales was stopped by DPS, and an inspection was performed on the vehicle,” Tubb says.

That stop on Highway 42 led to the discovery of the vehicles used in the thefts.

“They were able to use search warrants to go after other areas and search where they ended up seizing the other three tractor-trailer rigs,” said Tubb.

Investigators now have more questions. How big is this? How many places have been hit? How long has it been going on, and who’s organizing this?

“And this is just the beginning of the investigation post-arrest, to where they’re tracking things down. The implications of this could lead to finding other things,” Tubb says.

Investigators at this time have not revealed exactly how much petroleum was stolen.

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