MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Hialeah man is facing serious charges Thursday afternoon after he was busted with a modified truck, police said he used to sell black-market gasoline.
The Florida Highway Patrol says it is a big deal because these vehicles represent huge safety concerns since they are equipped like traveling gas stations and can be ticking time bombs if you get in an accident.
The suspect identified as 35-year-old Angel Besares was already on probation for grand theft.
“If one vehicle gets in a crash it could be catastrophic,” said FHP Lt. Alex Camacho.
Camacho is troubled by the charges against Besares.
“You are being charged with being in possession of an illegal tanker.”
The man who ironically lists his occupation as a transporter is accused of having an illegal gas tank in this white, Ford, F-250 pickup truck.
Trooper Raul Gonzalez Cortina told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench he stopped Besares’ truck Wednesday on STR 826 Southbound, near Northwest 58th Street.
“Upon arriving, I noticed the bed of the truck had a modification. There’s a toolbox to the truck as you can see.”
“After speaking further to the driver I noticed the toolbox modified into the fuel tank to illegally transport fuel. There’s an electric pump which is attached to the back and a hose 15’ long and a digital reader to it can discharges the fuel and get a reading on how many gallons was used.”
The truck has a special toggle switch “that would turn the switch on and the gasoline at the station would go directly into the truck and put the fuel in the tank.”
Gonzalez-Cortina says Besares claimed the gasoline was for personal use.
It’s a growing problem. FHP has custody of more than 20 vehicles with illegal gas tanks.
“It’s a very lucrative business. It’s trending. We’ve made several arrests for this type of vehicle,” Camacho says. “Obviously, the dangers with these individuals are not operating by federal regulations. They don’t have placards saying what they are transporting.”
Besares was already on probation because of 17 counts of grand theft for out of state cases.
“On bond, I will set it at $5,000 plus house arrest,” a Miami-Dade judge ordered.
FHP says Besares’s grand theft cases are tied to the fraudulent use of credit cards.
FHP also says it has a specially-trained unit that is on the lookout for people with illegal gas tanks and says if you are stopped with one, you will be arrested.