A smuggler thought he was clever when he brought a dozen undocumented immigrants stuffed into the back of a cloned Border Patrol vehicle Thursday.
But he wasn’t clever enough — there were at least three differences between the cloned vehicle and a real border patrol vehicle.
When real Border Patrol agents observed the Chevrolet Tahoe heading north of the U.S.-Mexican border on Interstate 35 near Laredo, Texas, they thought there was something different about it so they stopped it to investigate.
“As we continue to monitor security along the border and in adjacent communities, smugglers have resorted to desperate measures to conduct their illicit business,” Mario Martinez, Chief of the Laredo Sector Border Patrol said, according to local CBS affiliate Channel 7 News.
“The training, attention to detail and vigilance of our Border Patrol agents halted this human smuggling attempt. We encourage public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping our country safe.”
CBS 7 reported:
To a casual observer, the cloned vehicle appeared to be a law enforcement vehicle conducting official business, but to the observant Border Patrol agent something was not quite right. After further investigation, the agents determined that the four-door vehicle had been cloned to look like an official Border Patrol vehicle in an attempt to conceal a human smuggling attempt.
Border Patrol agent pointed out the differences between the cloned unit and a real unit to local ABC affiliate KRGV Channel 5 News.
“There’s no fender, there’s no ground effect on any of our vehicles. They’re actually pretty bare and about as high as we get the vehicle, because we do go off road,” Omar Zamora with the Border Patrol RGV sector said.
He added that although cloned vehicles are fairly common, fake Border Patrol vehicles are not.
“In the 18 years that I’ve been in the Border Patrol, we’ve seen UPS, FedEX trucks, Time Warner trucks, any kinds of clones. Any business you can think of,” Zamora told the station. “The smugglers are trying to clone it to avoid law enforcement detection.”
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