With growing boldness, drug gangs and smuggling organizations on both sides of the Mexican border are disguising their couriers and assassins in phony uniforms and vehicles, passing them off as mail handlers and oil field workers, or even Mexican soldiers and Texas sheriffs, reports the Washington Post. The traffickers have been caught hauling marijuana along the Texas border in fake versions of a Wal-Mart truck or FedEx van. They’ve employed sham school buses, dummy dump trucks and bogus ambulances.
Law enforcement officials call them “cloners,” and they are increasingly the vehicles of choice in conflict zones where the lines between the bad guys and the law are blurred by corruption. “Trust me, whatever you can think of, the smugglers have already thought of, and with the Internet and a decent body shop, it’s not too hard to make a clone,” said Jose E. Gonzalez, assistant patrol agent in charge of the Zapata, Texas, sector of the U.S. Border Patrol.