A brazen scheme was thwarted at the US-Mexico border on Saturday when American and Mexican authorities intercepted a fake U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) truck, smuggling 17 migrants into California.
The truck, outfitted with counterfeit decals and a phony Department of Homeland Security license plate, prompted a second look from vigilant Mexican immigration officials due to its peculiar appearance, NBC 7 reported.
David Pérez Tejada, Mexico’s National Migration Institute delegate highlighted the tactics of the unscrupulous smugglers who likely hoodwinked the migrants, saying, “Hop on, we already have an agreement. This is a US Border Patrol vehicle. With this, they won’t ask you anything before you cross the border.”
The deceptive operation ended in a swift arrest of the culprits at the border, with the migrants safely transferred to the police headquarters in Tijuana and the counterfeit CBP truck impounded by US authorities.
The recent incident is not an isolated event. According to The New York Post, in 2021, Homeland Security and Border Patrol agents foiled a similar incident involving a bogus CBP vehicle transporting 10 migrants near the Tucson border.
A rising trend among smugglers is the usage of cloned vehicles. Last month, officials reported a case of fraudulent FedEx vans designed to carry 26 migrants into El Paso.
The migrant crisis has escalated with a staggering 96 bodies recovered since October, marking a record number of migrant deaths. Immigration officials attribute this devastating toll to ruthless cartels, who often downplay the perils of border crossing, leaving desperate migrants in precarious situations, sometimes forsaken in overheated trucks and trailers.
Victor Clark Alfaro, a Latin American Studies professor at San Diego State University, told NBC 7, “If you are in the hands of smugglers, they can not only rape women, extort migrants and steal their belongings, but even kill them,” Clark Alfaro said.
As summer temperatures spike, the tactics of deceit and exploitation employed by smugglers show a chilling disregard for human life, escalating the urgency of enforcing national security measures at the border.
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.