A tractor trailer that law enforcement found at least 51 migrants dead in on Monday was copied from a south Texas-based trucking company, according to a report.
Officials believe that the truck was abandoned in San Antonio after it had mechanical problems. A city worker discovered the scene on Monday evening after hearing a cry from the trailer.
At least 46 migrants were found dead at the scene and more died at hospitals.
The 18-wheeler was a clone of a truck belonging to an Alamo-based company with the same color and registration numbers, the owners of Betancourt Trucking and Harvesting told San Antonio Express-News.
“Our reefer (refrigerated trailer) is sitting right in the yard… That one in San Antonio is not our trailer,” Felipe Betancourt Sr. and Felipe Jr. told the local newspaper. “They have info on the truck that doesn’t belong to them.”
Border Patrol officers have been encountering records numbers of migrants trying to cross the southern border, including 239,416 last month and 235,478 the month before that.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott placed the blame on the Biden administration’s immigration policies.
“These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott tweeted on Monday evening. “They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”
President Biden, meanwhile, pledged to crack down on human traffickers in the wake of the tragedy.
“Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry,” Biden said in a statement.
It’s not the first time that human traffickers have tried cloning vehicles to get past law enforcement.
A cloned Border Patrol SUV being driven by a human trafficker in a fake uniform was found last August in Arizona with 10 migrants inside, Chief John Modlin of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector said at the time.