Arizona CBP Seizes Cloned Fire Department Vehicle Used by Smugglers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Arizona said Monday it confiscated a lookalike fire department vehicle that it suspects smugglers were using to traffic illegal aliens across the border.

#ClonedVehicle seized by Douglas Station. Agents responded to a suspected vehicle incursion and encountered the abandoned SUV. Mormon Lake Fire Dist. decals were improperly labeled as ‘Mormon Like.’ Several individuals fled from the vehicle to Mexico before agents arrived,” said Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent John R. Modlin on Twitter. 

The Tucson Sector has had a busy few days.

The Arizona Sun Times reported the CBP in Tucson caught a group of more than 50 minors crossing the border illegally over the weekend.

“A group of 51 migrants, mostly Guatemalan citizens, were taken into custody by Tucson Station agents near Sasabe, AZ. There was only one adult in the group, and the youngest child was just 11-months-old,” Modlin said of the bust. “Several agents responded to assist with transport and processing.”

This is not the first time smugglers have cloned vehicles to evade law enforcement.

A year ago, Modlin and his outfit of CBP agents caught smugglers riding in a CBP lookalike.

“This is not a Border Patrol vehicle. [Homeland Security Investigation Phoenix] and [Border Patrol] agents from [Tucson] Station foiled a smuggling attempt using a cloned vehicle and a fake uniform. The driver and 10 migrants were taken into custody,” Modlin said. 

The driver in that incident was even dressed as a CBP agent.

CBP has seen a slight decrease in the number of encounters with illegal foreign nationals in recent months, with the summer heat being a possible deterrent.

Still, the number of illegal alien encounters in June, the last month those statistics were released, numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

“In total, there were 207,416 encounters along the southwest land border in June, also a 14 percent decrease compared to May. Of those, 26 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 15 percent for FY 2014-2019,” according to CBP.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].




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