Houston man arrested in connection with gas pump skimmer case, held on $1.5 million bond

Published on Monday, 30 October 2017 18:01 - Written by LOUANNA CAMPBELL, lcampbell@tylerpaper.com

The Tyler Police Department located another person involved in a gas pump skimmer operation. This arrest follows the discovery this month of three gas pump skimmer devices at Smith County convenience stores.

Nelson Lemus-Torres was arrested by the Houston Police Department on a warrant from Smith County.  He was extradited to Smith County and booked into the Smith County Jail shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, according to jail records. 

Lemus-Torres, 24, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and  is being held on a $1.5 million bond, according to jail records. 

This is the seventh arrest in Smith County involving a wave of fraudulent credit card skimming devices that were placed on gas pumps throughout Tyler and Smith County. 

The investigation started in April when there was a spike in the area of credit card accounts being stolen through the use of gas pump skimmers. 

The suspects are accused of being a part of an organized crime scheme that resulted in more than 15 gas stations in Tyler and 15 other stations in Smith County falling victim to credit card skimmers being placed on their gas pumps.  

They are suspected of being accomplices in a credit card skimmer scheme in which law enforcement officials say a group of people manually opened the doors on gas pumps and attached card skimming devices that captured card data and allowed the gas pumps to operate normally.   

Authorities began investigating the case in April when there was a spike in the area of credit card accounts being stolen through the use of gas pump skimmers.  

This recent arrest comes just weeks after members of The North East Texas Financial Crimes Task Force conducted a random check of a Tyler Exxon station at Commerce Street and East Loop 323 and discovered two credit card skimmer devices on Oct. 12. 

Another skimmer device was located by Smith County Sheriff's Office detectives on Thursday. The device was on a gas pump at The Cross County convenience store near Chapel Hill, 16117 State Highway 64 East. 

Other arrests involving credit card skimmer devices include Daykel Madruga-Cartaya, 24, of Channelview, arrested Sept. 14.

Yoslays Garcia-Torres, 34, of Channelview, was arrested Aug. 11 at a Tyler Walmart after he was found with numerous gift cards that were allegedly purchased with stolen and cloned credit card information.

Nolberto Neranjo Rivera and Eligio Diegez-Arias were arrested July 9 in Tyler.

Yaiel Alvarez-Guerra and Hilda Perez De La Guardia were arrested on May 20 by the Bullard Police Department when they were found near a gas station acting in a suspicious manner.

Consumers are encouraged to be aware at fuel pumps. If a credit card scanner looks like it has been tampered with, move to another pump or pay inside.

Contact the Texas Department of Agriculture at 1-800-TELL-TDA to make a complaint about a fuel pump.

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