Romanian thieves have stolen 2 million dollars worth of diesel from the U.S. Army at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Black Sea Air Base, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Romanian prosecutors from the DIICOT anti-organized crime unit said they’d carried out six raids to disband a criminal gang that siphoned off the fuel over a four-year period.
They said the group had been active since 2017 and the theft had cost the U.S. government 2 million dollars.
Romanian police said prosecutors swooped on six homes on people suspected of theft and driving a vehicle without a driving license.
The statement said the group stole fuel, mainly diesel from the base from 2017 to 2021 and other places in Constanta county used by U.S. troops.
The gang leader who coordinated the illicit activity oversaw fuel being siphoned off from generators that were located on different parts of the Mihail Kogălniceanu, which is near the port of Constanta in eastern Romania.
Seven people will be taken for questioning.
Romania, the U.S. and its allies use the large NATO airbase to defend the eastern frontier of the Western military alliance.
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Black Sea has become a strategic priority for the U.S. and NATO, as the Kremlin has increased its activity and presence near the alliance’s southeastern flank.