Beadle County, SD
The Beadle County State's Attorney's office has filed charges against six gas stations, alleging they sold 85 octane gas illegally.
The 281 Travel Center in Wolsey, as well as five individual Corner Pantry stations in Huron, are charged with the crime. And they all have the same fuel provider.
The allegations come after the Department of Public Safety Office of Weight and Measures notified Beadle County in June.
On Friday, a summons was issued to M.G. Oil, a company out of Rapid City, which owns the five Corner Pantry stores, as well as the owner of the 281 Travel Center. The Travel Center also gets its fuel from M.G. Oil. And it's a mess that Beadle County hopes to clean up.
On September 13, a South Dakota state legislative panel voted to let retailers in nine West River counties sell 85 octane fuel. But in every other part of the state, it's still illegal.
"There were six total gas stations in Beadle County that had sold 85 octane gas and mislabeled it as 87 octane," Beadle County State's Attorney Michael Moore said.
Moore says the 85 octane fuel was sold in March. A June investigation revealed the transaction. And now, the county is going after the owners of the 281 Travel Center in Wolsey, as well as M.G. Oil, the company that owns five Corner Pantry stores in Huron.
Moore says the investigation didn't find a specific reason as to why the stations sold the 85 octane fuel. But all that matters is they sold it.
"It doesn't matter whether the knew it or not," Moore said. "It's kind of like a speeding ticket. If you don't know what the speed limit is, you're still speeding. You can't say, 'I didn't see the sign,' and get out of it."
Robert McGillvrey, the owner of 281 Travel Center, didn't want to go on camera. But off camera, he did say when a state investigator came by in June, he called M.G. Oil, which is also his fuel supplier, in front of the inspector and demanded they stop selling 85 octane to him. McGillvrey admitted the 85 octane was listed on a shipping document, but that after five years with M.G. Oil, it's become routine to just look at the gallons purchased and not the actual fuel. He says he's mad and "disappointed in the whole system."
McGillvrey and a spokesperson for M.G. Oil will need to appear in court on October 17. The charge is a class two misdemeanor, which has a maximum sentence of a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. A voicemail left for the general manager of M.G. Oil was not returned.