After U.S. Border Patrol caught someone cutting a hole in a border fence and alerted Mexican authorities, a truck “cloned” to look like a U.S. Border Patrol truck was found, Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday.
On July 22 at around 6:15 a.m., border agents in the El Centro Sector observed a person cutting the steel international boundary fence between America and Mexico, about five miles from the Calexico Port of Entry, which is about 122 miles east of San Diego.
Agents then informed the El Centro Sector Foreign Operations Branch, which in turn informed the Municipal Public Security Bureau of Mexicali, capital of the neighboring Mexican state of Baja California, of the situation. Mexicali shares a metropolitan area with Calexico.
When Mexican personnel arrived on-site, they found a white truck emblazoned with insignia suggesting that it was instead a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle.
Along with the imitation U.S. government vehicle, Mexican authorities also found 17 individuals, who U.S. authorities suspect were waiting to be smuggled into the U.S.
These individuals, 13 men and four women, were all adults of Mexican nationality according to the local La Voz de la Frontera newspaper. The smugglers they were waiting for had abandoned them before they were found.
Those 17 were initially detained in Mexico, before being released by a judge and refusing shelter; neither CBP nor Mexican authorities specified whether or not the suspected fence-cutter caught by U.S. surveillance was among those detained.
The truck was seized by the office of Mexico’s Attorney General, which is now in charge of investigation of the incident. Mexicali MPSB Director Pedro Mendivil Garcia did not specify whether or not impersonating U.S. officials is a crime in Mexico, according to La Voz.