Mexican Cartels “Cloning” Big Rigs To Beat U.S. Border Defenses
San Antonio, Texas – Mexican drug and human traffickers are becoming more creative in their strategies using commercial big rigs to penetrate the United States’ southern border.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) along with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are remaining “vigilant” in order to combat these evolving tactics, according to Marcizo Ramos, special operations supervisor with the CBP Laredo Sector.
“The smuggling organizations are constantly changing their strategies,” Ramos recently told Transportation Nation Network (TNN).
According to Richard Sanchez, Group Supervisor of the San Antonio DEA office, Mexican trucking companies that transport goods into the U.S. are attracting more business than ever from drug smugglers and human traffickers.
Willing to do whatever it takes to secure passage into the U.S. undetected, the latest tactic is “cloning” big rigs.
“We have commonly seen where cloned vehicles are used. For example, they’ll paint Walmart and it looks exactly like a Walmart commercial vehicle, however, it’s not that at all,” Sanchez recently told online news outlet Fox San Antonio.
Traffickers are also “cloning” vehicles to look like official U.S. government or corporate trucks such as the U.S. Postal Service, AT&T, or Fedex.
Sanchez said that once the trucks are stopped and “their log books and manifest are inspected,” it’s clear the big rigs are fake.
Ramos told TNN in June that the big rig border battle is only worsening as a “humanitarian crises” continues to unfold on the U.S. southern border.
As the flow of migrants continues to surge, CBP personnel and resources are stretched thinner and thinner.
Ramos indicated it was making conditions more challenging to catch traffickers using big rigs.
Smuggler Reveals How He Used Truckers As Pawns In Truck Stop Trafficking Scheme
On Monday, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials announced 47-year-old Mexican national Humberto Ramirez-Santos recently pleaded guilty for his involvement in a conspiracy to transport illegal aliens between October 2011 to July 2017.
Ramirez-Santos detailed for U.S. prosecutors how he and co-conspirators would essentially use unsuspecting truckers as pawns.
He said he often used Penske trucks and tractor-trailers to smuggle illegal aliens through various inspection checkpoints.
He then would select a tractor-trailer with a suitable temperature parked at a South Texas truck stop.
After removing the seal, he and his team of smugglers would load the illegal aliens into the trailer without the truckers’ knowledge.
Members of the organization would follow the big rig to the next stop somewhere north of the checkpoint to later retrieve them.
The aliens were then transported in closed Penske trucks to Houston.
Ramirez-Santos faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Check out more of TNN’s recent coverage of the big rig border battle HERE.