Trucking co. owner accused of purchasing stolen diesel at a deep discount

Two men, including a California trucking company owner, are facing a slew of charges related to an ongoing diesel fuel theft scheme targeting South Bay Safeway locations.

On July 2, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office announced charges against trucking company owner Henrry Umana, 44, and Yuniel Cordero, 40.

Umana was charged with organized retail theft, receiving stolen property, and conspiracy

Cordero was charged with organized retail theft, identity theft, conspiracy, 61 counts of grand theft, and 14 counts of petty theft.

Officials say that the two men participated in a scheme involving the use of stolen credit card information to obtain thousands of gallons of diesel fuel from South Bay Safeway locations. The purloined diesel fuel was pumped into a makeshift bladder on the back of a truck.

After Cordero obtained the diesel, he allegedly sold the fuel to Umana for use in his fleet’s vehicles for about $3.50 — $3.75 a gallon, well below the current $5 cost per gallon in California.

The total estimated loss is $90,000.

The scheme was discovered after a person reported being charged for a purchase a Safeway when they had not shopped there. The Safeway contacted authorities, and investigators say that they soon learned that Cordero had stolen hundreds of gallons of fuel from a San Jose Safeway over the course of months.

Investigators also reported finding card skimming devices when they searched Cordero’s house following his June 20 arrest.

On June 27, DA investigators, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies, and the California Highway Patrol Organized Retail Theft Task Force searched Umana’s trucking company and found thousands of gallons of stolen fuel, officials say.

“These defendants were criminally filling up their fuel tanks and their pockets, using the stolen property of others,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Our high-octane investigator along with the Sheriff’s Office made sure this scheme is out of gas and out of business.”