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Accused smuggler caught hiding 10 people in 'cloned' Border Patrol vehicle near Tucson

Authorities say they caught a human smuggler attempting to disguise themselves as a Border Patrol agent by donning a fake uniform and driving a cloned vehicle.

TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Border Patrol officials said they recently apprehended someone attempting to impersonate one of their own agents by driving a "cloned" vehicle. 

Interim Chief John Modlin of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector reported agents foiling the plan of a suspected smuggler who attempted to sneak by them undetected by driving a car painted like one of the agency's government vehicles. 

The car's driver and 10 others were taken into custody, Modlin wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not respond to an inquiry asking questions about the agency's recent bust. 

Smugglers have been known over the years to dress up as federal agents in an attempt to thwart the same people they're impersonating. In Texas, federal agents have caught drug traffickers driving vehicles made to look like ambulances, school buses, and postal trucks. 

The rate of illegal crossings over the U.S.-Mexico border has been increasing during the early months of 2021. In March, CBP reported stopping more than 178,000 people attempting to illegally cross the southwest border. 

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