As police officers and other law enforcement agencies equip themselves with a wider array of vehicles, some lawbreakers have found a new tool to perpetrate their crimes: Fake police trucks.
The Ford F-150 above wears the decals of Webb County, Texas, and comes with working emergency lights. Yet something seemed off about it to U.S. Border Patrol agents in June, who stopped a driver wearing a sheriff's deputy uniform. Upon closer inspection, the badge was from a security guard and the cab of the truck concealed 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
Smugglers have long used faked vehicles to move their contraband, from Fed-Ex trucks to Dakar Rally racers. And it's not just cargo that's been hauled this way.
In July, Border Patrol officers in California found a California Highway Patrol Dodge Ram like this one with a flat in Imperial County. The badges and decals were once again off just enough to make the officers suspicious; inside the camper top were nine illegal immigrants. The driver had abandoned the truck, which had not just working lights and bumper bar but faked CHP license plates.
The only way to fight these techniques appears to be relying on smugglers to keep their quality control shoddy - or for police agencies to buy harder to copy vehicles.