SACATON — A Texas man is facing charges after he allegedly told Gila River Police that he was from the Islamic State group and was going to blow up a gas station.

According to Pinal County Superior Court records, Basil Esa Auso, 39, is charged with arson.

At 1:34 a.m. on March 30, Gila River Police were called to a gas station in the first block of West Pima Street in Sacaton for a report of a garbage can on fire. When an officer arrived he spotted the flaming garbage can near a set of fuel pumps.

As the officer approached the garbage can, Esa Auso allegedly approached the officer, told him that he was a member of IS and that he had put a bomb in the trash can. He also allegedly told the officer that there was a backpack full of explosives on the north side of the parking lot and that his car, parked at the corner of Casa Blanca and Sacaton roads, was also full of explosives.

Officers detained Esa Auso and called in the Arizona Department of Public Safety bomb squad, the Gila River Fire Department and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

When interviewed by officers, Esa Auso allegedly would only tell them that he was a member of ISIS and that he had come from Iraq to blow up the gas station.


Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at