Texas authorities are on high alert after Border Patrol agents caught an alleged smuggler trying to disguise its SUV as one of the agency’s vehicles, officials said Friday.
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 said any agent would’ve recognized the SUV.
“In the 18 years that I’ve been in the Border Patrol, we’ve seen UPS, FedEx trucks, Time Warner trucks, any kind of clones. Any business you can think of. The smugglers are trying to clone it to avoid law enforcement detection,” Zamora added.
Zamora said the numbers and codes on each unit means something and was confident a clone couldn’t conceal a crime in the region.
Border Patrol said this is the first cloned unit in recent memory in the Laredo area and has urged the public to call law enforcement if they see something suspicious.