The drug cartels are stepping up their smuggling tactics by customizing vehicles to look just like Border Patrol trucks as a way to smuggle illicit drugs into America. This time the cloned vehicle was detected in Texas and it was loaded with more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana.
Just a few weeks ago a white van with a dozen illegals were arrested at a San Diego Border Patrol checkpoint for falsely impersonating U.S. Marines and using a boosted van with tampered license plates.
It was Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that observed a suspicious BP truck “conducting surveillance at the Del Rio, Texas Port of Entry (PoE),” according to court papers.
The driver of the “fake BP truck” was Felipe Esparza-Cruz, 28, and he is scheduled to appear in court on April 14.
The government case contends that Esparza-Cruz entered the “United States without inspection through the City of Del Rio southbound tollbooth lanes.”
Once the truck entered the country ICE Agents ordered “mobile surveillance in order to verify the authenticity of the vehicle.”
Esparza-Cruz allegedly imitated a process used by Border Patrol when they deport illegal aliens back to Mexico using Border Patrol trucks. Luckily ICE agents observed the BP truck and were able to make the arrest.
“They’d just drive through without presenting themselves for inspection because no one questioned a Border Patrol vehicle,” officials explained.
Like the U.S. Marine imposter van impounded in San Diego, the fake Border Patrol truck’s phony license plates did the drug trafficker in.
“Cloned vehicles, whether Border Patrol or some other frequently seen vehicle, are in my opinion, a serious threat,” says G. Alan Ferguson leader of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers and author of the M3 Report.
He also explained that “for years since 9/11, there have been alerts for terrorists using cloned or stolen vehicles such as ambulances and other cloned vehicles add one more factor in realizing how vulnerable we are.”
While the borders may be more secure than years past, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a long way to go when it comes to protecting the southern boundaries from human and drug smugglers. The increased border fence coupled with more Border Patrol Agents are now responsible for the Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) to spend more money to get their products into America.
Despite the illegality of human a drug trafficking, these “cartel” businesses in Mexico earn billions of tax-free dollars per year and the Mexican government has yet to stop the cartel’s barbaric violence that has taken more than 35,000 lives in the past four years.
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.