25 Jul 2023
Cops in Tijuana, Mexico, intercepted a fake U.S. Customs and Border Protection pickup truck on Saturday
The vehicle was being used in an attempt to smuggle 17 Mexican nationals across the border
The pickup truck contained decal stickers of the CBP on each side and a green label that read Border Patrol on the hatch
Mexico authorities seized a fake U.S. Border Patrol pickup truck that was being used by smugglers in an attempt to sneak 17 Mexican nationals across the border.
The white Ford F150 was stopped by local police in Ladrillera, a remote area in the Mexican border city of Tijuana on Saturday.
Images taken by authorities showed the pickup truck had replica decal stickers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that were applied on each side of the vehicle as well as a label with a series of digits that apparently identified the vehicle.
The truck's hatch featured a sticker that read Border Patrol in green lettering.
Authorities said the 17 Mexican nationals were placed in custody of the Institute of National Migration
Investigators found that the pickup truck was used by smugglers to pressure migrants into believing that traveling aboard the vehicle ensured easy entry into the United States.
They were promised that they would not have to presenting legal documents and that they would not be subjected to revisions.
The individuals– residents from the states of Puebla, Tepic, Nayarit, Culiacán y Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Ciudad de México and Michoacán– were placed in custody of the National Institute of Migration.
The vehicle is being held by the Attorney General's Office.
Alejandro Salinas, director of the National Institute of Migration's task force division that provides aid to migrants, told reporters that the fake U.S. Border Patrol pickup truck was just another example of how individuals are looking to find holes in the migrant smuggling business at the border.
'It is the guide who is the one who is creating new ideas or new ways of being able to evade the Mexican and American authorities,' he said. 'And that's where you realize that there is ingenuity for everything.'
It's not the first time that authorities on either side of the border confiscated a cloned Border Patrol vehicle.
In September 2022, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a U.S. citizen and seized the fake SUV after the station's surveillance system detected the Chevrolet Tahoe on Highway 98 in Imperial County, California, about 1.7 miles from the Mexico border.
The vehicle came to a full stop after agents deployed a tire deflation device on the road.
The driver, an 18-year-old male, fled the pickup truck and was found hiding in some brush.
In August 2021, CBP agents arrested U.S. national Alexander Celaya for operating a fake agency vehicle while ferrying four migrants in Sells, Arizona.