LAREDO, Texas, The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said it arrested a man in Laredo, Texas, for allegedly attempting to smuggle 12 undocumented immigrants while using a fake Border Patrol vehicle.
A Border Patrol agent was working operations on Thursday when he noticed a “suspicious looking government vehicle,” the agency wrote in a statement published Friday. The agent followed the vehicle while coordinating with other agents.
A vehicle stop was performed on Interstate highway 35 and agents noticed “numerous subjects” who were “crammed inside the vehicle.”
“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,” CBP said in the statement. “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.”
The driver was arrested and an investigation was launched.
“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, wrote in the statement. “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.”