(1) Any peace officer or agent of the department, having probable cause to believe that a vehicle is being used for the unlawful transportation of motor vehicle fuel or diesel fuel, shall make a search thereof with or without a warrant, and in every case when a search is made with or without a warrant and it appears that any provision of sections 66-501 to 66-512 and 66-526 to 66-531 has been violated, the peace officer or agent shall take such fuel being unlawfully transported, the vehicle, and the person in charge thereof into custody, a complaint shall be filed within thirty days of the seizure against such party, fuel, and vehicle, a warrant shall issue, and such party, fuel, and vehicle shall be held for trial as in a criminal action. The vehicle and the fuel so seized shall not be taken from the possession of any officer or agent seizing and holding them by writ of replevin or other proceedings.
(2) In addition, any person who violates any provision of sections 66-501 to 66-512 and 66-526 to 66-531 is subject to an administrative penalty of one thousand dollars for each violation to be assessed and collected by the department. All such penalties under this subsection shall be assessed against the owner of the vehicle as of the date of the violation. All such penalties collected shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for credit to the Highway Trust Fund.
(3) For purposes of this section:
(a) Owner means registered owner, titleholder, lessee entitled to possession of the motor vehicle, or anyone otherwise maintaining a possessory interest in the motor vehicle, but does not include anyone who, without participating in the use or operation of the motor vehicle and otherwise not engaged in the purpose for which the motor vehicle is being used, holds indicia of ownership primarily to protect his or her security interest in the motor vehicle or who acquired ownership of the motor vehicle pursuant to a foreclosure of a security interest in the motor vehicle; and
(b) Use means to operate, fuel, or otherwise employ.