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Smuggler caught using fake Border Patrol vehicle along U.S.-Mexico border

BEAVER ISLAND STATE PARK, NY - JUNE 03: U.S. Border Patrol agents talk while at a marina on the Niagara River at the U.S.-Canada border on June 3, 2013 in Beaver Island State Park, New York. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, monitors the 5,525 mile long border, including Alaska, forming the longest international border between two countries in the world.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

BEAVER ISLAND STATE PARK, NY - JUNE 03: U.S. Border Patrol agents talk while at a marina on the Niagara River at the U.S.-Canada border on June 3, 2013 in Beaver Island State Park, New York. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, monitors the 5,525 mile long border, including Alaska, forming the longest international border between two countries in the world. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

Law enforcement caught an alleged smuggler using a cloned car of a Border Patrol vehicle, putting them on high alert for a new way of transporting people and drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to KRGV, an investigation is underway after agents caught a smuggler driving what appeared to be a Border Patrol Tahoe – which are a frequent site along the border.

However, agents were quick to point out the differences between the cloned unit and a real one.

“There’s no fender, there’s no ground effect on any of our vehicles. They’re actually pretty bare and about as high as we get the vehicle, because we do go off road,” Omar Zamora with the Border Patrol RGV sector told KRGV.

He said cloned vehicles are common, but not of Border Patrol units.

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“In the 18 years that I’ve been in the Border Patrol, we’ve seen UPS, FedEX trucks, Time Warner trucks, any kinds of clones. Any business you can think of,” Zamora said. “The smugglers are trying to clone it to avoid law enforcement detection.”

The agents in Laredo, Texas said they found 12 people stuffed in the back of the fake unit.

Zamora said agents are now on the lookout for other Border Patrol fakes, adding that looking for the number and codes on the vehicles are clues.

“Any Border Patrol agent that’s been in for quite some time knows whether that number is correct or not,” Zamora said.

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