Vehicle Cloning is a highly lucrative crime these days. The use of fake vehicles for criminal purposes is a growing problem that law enforcement should be aware of. Counterterrorism authorities have expressed concern about these cloned vehicles, which include trucks made to look exactly like commercial trucks as well as government vehicles. In the past there have been several incidents where cloned vehicles have been involved. These incidents also emphasize the dangers that cloned vehicles represent when they are used by extremists to conceal items such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) in attempt to gain access to restricted areas in order to execute an attack.
Incident Warranting Vigilance:
This truck was traveling south on the Florida Turnpike. The vehicle appeared at first glance to be an official rescue vehicle from the fire department. The truck had a “Fire Rescue Advance Support” sign on it but didn’t have the logo of an actual fire department on it, however, it looked a lot like an authentic fire rescue unit. Easily, this vehicle may get access to restricted areas where an ordinary vehicle could not gain access. [March 2010 Miami Dade Fire Rescue — Terrorism Response Bureau]
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In September 2009, terrorists who invoked Islam to pursue their violent agenda posed as United Nations (UN) personnel and drove stolen UN vehicles into the headquarters of a peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. The trucks were waived through security and subsequently detonated inside the compound, killing at least 21 people. [November 2009- DHS- IA-0039-10]
In March 2007, several explosives-laden vehicles, one of which was an ambulance, were used in a coordinated series of attacks against a market, a courthouse, and an army base that was under construction in Iraq. Over 40 people died, and many others were wounded. [November 2009- DHS- IA-0039-10]
In April 2005, three explosives-laden vehicles, one of which was a fire truck, attacked a U.S. military facility in Iraq, wounding several and causing minor damage to the facility and a nearby mosque. [November 2009- DHS- IA-0039-10]
Border patrol agents stopped a suspicious Budweiser delivery van traveling northbound from the border. One of the agents noticed something abnormal about the van, which bore the name Golden Eagle Distribution, Inc., a Tucson distributor. Inside the van, agents discovered 13 illegal aliens, of which 8 were citizens of China and the other 5 were citizens from Mexico. [November 2008- NOC]
Department of Public Safety agents in Arizona pulled over what they believed was a UPS truck. To their surprise, the truck was actually a picture-perfect clone of a UPS truck whose purpose was to hide smuggled goods. Inside the vehicle, agents seized 2,118 lbs of marijuana worth over $1 millions on the street. [November 2007 — WWW.CBP.Gov]
Other vehicles that have been cloned and used in criminal activities in the past are: U.S. Border Patrol van, FedEx, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, Wal-Mart, Direct TV, Dish Network, Comcast, Mountain Dew Cola, and an Ambulance Emergency Vehicle. Law enforcement should be on alert for the following indicators of suspicious delivery, commercial and/or government vehicles during patrol, routine traffic stops and large scale public events.
- No company phone numbers displayed.
- Personalized license plate or no license plate attached.
- Chrome license plate brackets.
- Several different Cable Company names listed (Companies that are rivals).
- Very low service vehicle numbers (0007-0025).
- Closer look at the insignia indicated that the images were made larger, thus distorting the image.
- The 800 number listed as a call center for bad driving is spelled wrong (ADVICE vs. ADVISE).
- The ladder, tools and cones attached to the vehicle appeared to not have been used in a long period of time, due to the presence of dust, old dirt and discoloration from the sun.
This bulletin’s intent is to provide situational awareness concerning domestic and international terrorist tradecraft and evolving tactics. Although there is no specific or credible intelligence to suggest that individuals, extremists, and terrorist organizations are planning to conduct attacks, first responders should remain cognizant and continue to be vigilant of detecting suspicious vehicles, for example, delivery vehicles in large scale events, vehicles blocking entrances, and/or illegally parked of vehicles. Information related to or comments, suggestions about the content of this report should be directed to MDFR Terrorism Response Bureau at the Miami-Dade Fusion Center at 305-470-3951 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue
Terrorism Response Bureau
9300 NW 41st ST, Doral, FL, 33178
Headquarters Office: (786)331-5312
Miami-Dade Fusion Center Desk: (305)470-3951