An anonymous tip from a caller fearing an "explosion with catastrophic consequences" led to the arrest of four men in Tijuana for allegedly storing stolen gasoline in a residential neighborhood and selling it on nearby streets, the city's department of public safety reports.
Police said they discovered nearly 5000 liters (about 1320 gallons) stolen from the state-owned PEMEX gasoline company stored in a vacant lot in the Francisco Zarco neighborhood.
Officers responding to the tip, which came in about 11 p.m. on March 22, found three men filling up a mini-van from a 5-gallon can on a nearby public street, according to a statement issued by the department of public safety.
At the vacant lot, investigators discovered two dump trucks emitting "a strong odor of gasoline," police said. Inside the dump trucks investigators discovered 10 containers with varying amounts of gasoline inside — four with a capacity of 1,000 liters (about 264 gallons), and six with a capacity of 200 liters (nearly 53 gallons).
Officers intercepted the fourth suspect on Calle Francisco Zarco in the neighborhood of the same name with a 5-gallon can of gasoline, according to the police statement. He said he had another can of gas in his apartment.
Arrested were Fernando Serrano Hernández, Antonio Padilla, Miguel Ángel Serrano Zermeño y Juan Carlos Chávez Iglesias, all of whom were turned over to state prosecutors.
Firefighters were summoned to the vacant lot to guard against an explosion, while PEMEX sent officials to arrange for the removal of the gasoline.