Texas Authorities on High Alert After Smuggler Caught Using Fake Border Patrol Vehicle
Authorities in the Lone Star State are on high alert after a smuggler was apprehended in the Laredo sector driving a replicated U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection vehicle.
While it is well known that the human traffickers and drug smugglers will go to extraordinary lengths to fool Border Patrol agents, the discovery of a mock CBP unit is highly unusual.
According to Rio Grande Valley sector agent Omar Zamora, in the past smugglers have tried to replicated many different types of commercial vehicles (namely UPS and FedEx trucks), however, this maybe the first time in recent history where they have attempted to clone an official BP vehicle.
Though border patrol states that they knew immediately the vehicle was in fact fake due to various abnormalities with the vehicle’s appearance, this case shows that smugglers are continuing to development new tactics to in an effort to elude detection.
Border Patrol agents caught a smuggler driving a Chevy Tahoe that was painted to look like one of the agency’s vehicle, according to KRGV-TV. Vehicles are usually painted to act as delivery or telecommunications trucks to try and fool agents, but it’s unusual to see a Border Patrol vehicle to be copied.
Border Patrol in Laredo found 12 people stuffed in the back of the imposter vehicle. Agents knew the vehicle was a fake as soon as they found it.
“There’s no fender, there’s no ground effect on any of our vehicles, Omar Zamora, an agent with the Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley sector, told KRGV-TV. “They’re actually pretty bare and about as high as we get the vehicle, because we do go off road.”
Zamora added that he is convinced any BP agent would have be able to quickly identify the vehicle as fake and that law enforcement (or concerned citizens) are urged to contact the agency if they see something suspicious.
For reference, here is an example of an authentic unit as well as the replica:
Authentic CBP vehicle: No front bumper, slight body lift
Clone: Notably lower that authentic CBP vehicles, standard Tahoe front bumper