Two men who police say stole about $10,000 worth of diesel fuel in 2021 are now facing criminal charges.

Norberto de la Carded Rodriguez-Ibarra, 27, of West Valley, and Jose Guillermo Lache-Ortega, 33, of Magna, were charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with theft of motor vehicle fuel, a second-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor. A third person, Alejandro Fonseca-Urquiaga, 24, is also listed in court documents as a co-defendant.

The men are believed to have participated in a fuel theft ring in which thousands of gallons of diesel fuel were stolen from gas stations in at least four counties and then sold at well below market value to local trucking companies, according to police. In 2021, detectives were able to document at least $10,000 worth of fuel, or about 2,500 gallons, taken from gas stations in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis and Weber Counties. Police believe that gas was then sold to at least four small trucking companies.

The investigation began when a diesel fuel theft was reported on Aug. 24, 2021, at Top Stop, 3890 S. 2300 East.

"The suspects initiated the gas pump with a credit card, pumped some fuel, opened the pump, and slid a piece of paper into the pulsar to make the pump not read the pulses which makes it not register the amount," according to charging documents.

Surveillance video from the gas station revealed the suspects used two trucks over the course of multiple days to steal the fuel, police said.

After developing leads, detectives conducted surveillance operations and placed a GPS tracker on a truck in an effort to collect evidence against the alleged thieves, the charges state.

Lache-Ortega was arrested in 2021. Detectives served a search warrant on his phone and used that information to identify additional suspects, the charges state. He was convicted in 2021 on one count of unlawful possession of a bank card, a third-degree felony, despite originally being charged with 17 counts. According to police, when Lache-Ortega was arrested he was in possession of 17 cloned credit cards, such as gift cards, hotel key cards, and other cards with magnetic strips that had real credit card information from victims loaded onto them.