— -- Twelve undocumented immigrants who were piled into a fake border patrol vehicle were caught by a real border patrol agent, officials said, in a smuggling attempt a Border Patrol chief called a "desperate measure."
When an agent noticed a "suspicious looking government vehicle" on Thursday, he pulled the car over and found 12 undocumented immigrants crammed inside, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday.
"To a casual observer, the cloned vehicle appeared to be a law enforcement vehicle conducting official business, but to the observant Border Patrol agent something was not quite right," Customs and Border Protection said in a statement released today. "After further investigation, the agents determined that the four-door vehicle had been cloned to look like an official Border Patrol vehicle in an attempt to conceal a human smuggling attempt."
The driver was arrested by Laredo, Texas, border patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection said. The investigation is ongoing.
"Smugglers have resorted to desperate measures to conduct their illicit business," said Mario Martinez, Chief of the Laredo Sector Border Patrol. Martinez cited the "training, attention to detail and vigilance of our Border Patrol agents" for stopping the human smuggling attempt.