One sentenced in Eagle Ford oil theft ring

Cuffed: Former Newfield employee Bernal

A former Newfield Exploration employee has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme to pilfer $1.4 million in oil from Eagle Ford shale operators.

The former employee, Juan Bernal, has also been ordered to pay $150,000, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas.

Last year, Bernal and two others -- Carlos Pena, an Anadarko Petroleum employee, and Victor Guerra, owner of a wastewater removal services company -- admitted to devising a scheme between 2011 and 2014 to steal oil from several operators, including Newfield and Anadarko, using Guerra's wastewater trucks.

According to the release, Bernal and Guerra would secretly allow the trucks onto their companies' properties and fill the trucks with oil instead of water. The oil was then transferred to Guerra's property where Guerra would sell it to third-party buyers, who would pay via wire transfer.

Guerra and Pena also pleaded guilty to the scheme and face up to 10 years in prison. Guerra's sentencing is scheduled for 25 April, and Pena's is scheduled for 20 June.

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