(by Corky Siemaszko, NYDailyNews.com) – Thirteen guys named “Perez” tried to sneak into the country by donning U.S. Marine uniforms and getting military haircuts, the feds confirmed Wednesday.
They even slapped a U.S. government license plate with an altered number on the van they were riding in, Border Patrol spokesman Michael Jimenez said.
The illegal immigrants’ plan was undone because they did a sloppy job doctoring the plate – and they neglected to change the tags bearing the name “Perez” that were on the camouflage uniforms they were wearing, the feds said.
Two U.S. citizens – the van driver and another man – were arrested March 14 at a border checkpoint east of San Diego on suspicion of alien smuggling, the feds said.
Three of the Perez’s were being held as witnesses against the alleged smugglers, and the others were shipped back to Mexico, their country of origin.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has launched its own investigation into the incident – and is specifically looking into how the accused smugglers got their hands of the Marine uniforms. [NOTE: The NCIS mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps, wherever they operate, ashore or afloat.]
“There are several obvious questions that need to be answered,” NCIS spokesman Ed Buice told the Associated Press.
One of the questions is whether the two U.S. citizens had served in the military.
This is not the first time smugglers have resorted to disguises to try and sneak people over the Mexican border.
Illegals have been dressed up as everything from hard hats to utility repairmen, the Los Angeles Times reported. And brazen smugglers have either painted or placed decals on their SUVs and vans to make them look like Border Patrol or other government vehicles.
Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from The New York Daily News. Visit the website at nydailynews.com.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. Are all of the answers found in paragraph 1 of this article?
(NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details and the why and/or how.)
2. How were the men caught?
3. What happened to the men after they were caught?
4. On what aspect of the crime is the NCIS focusing?
5. What steps do you think the U.S. government through Homeland Security should take to prevent this type of illegal entry?
According to other government sources familiar with the [arrests], the incident has attracted the attention of various intelligence components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Intelligence Community. They explained that the alleged theft of US government license plates may have been deliberately stolen expressly for the purpose that they were used for: to serve as an apparent official government cover to transport seemingly official members of the Marine Corps.
Both human- and narco-traffickers have frequently used what are called “cloned” vehicles to transport illegals and drugs. But these generally involve vehicles that have been carefully painted or otherwise made to look like an official company or even government vehicle.
Indeed, traffickers have brazenly used the same kind of vehicles that are used by Border Patrol and other DHS agencies that they have artfully painted and outfitted to pass as an official Border Patrol or other DHS vehicle.
“The question, of course, remains how many cloned vehicles and with what/whom inside manage to get through,” said G. Alan Ferguson, executive assistant to the chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers. (from hstoday.us)
Visit the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) website at ncis.navy.mil/CoreMissions/CT/Pages/default.aspx.
Watch a local news report on this story below: