The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

U.S. Border Patrol Seizes ‘Cloned’ UPS Vehicle Carrying 13 Illegal Aliens

May 24, 2012

The van taken by the U.S. Customers and Border Patrol that was "cloned" to look like a UPS delivery vehicle but in fact was not. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The van taken by the U.S. Customers and Border Patrol that was "cloned" to look like a UPS delivery vehicle but in fact was not. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

EL CENTRO, CA – On Friday, May 18, El Centro area U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 21-year old man who was attempting to smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S using a vehicle that resembled a UPS van (shown above). The vehicle was not a typical UPS parcel truck, but to the casual observer, looked as if it could have been a vehicle used by UPS. Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle and discovered the 13 passengers hiding in the back of the vehicle and determined that they were Mexican citizens without legal immigration documents.

With the potential for any fleet to have its company logo duplicated, or even have a vehicle stolen and used for illegal purposes, Automotive Fleet magazine wanted to find out from UPS what they do to safeguard their vehicles and related intellectual property (logos, company colors, etc.) from misuse.

Automotive Fleet spoke with Susan Rosenberg, manager, public relations, at UPS about the measures the company has in place to prevent the use of either company vehicles or company logos and livery for either illegal activity or other activities not approved by UPS.

“Number one, it goes without saying that UPS does not transport people,” Rosenberg said. “We have a very prescriptive asset disposal program for our vehicles. We get 20 to 25 years of useful life out of our vehicles, and we are very careful that all of our livery is removed, and they are destroyed when we retire them from service. There is not an aftermarket for our fleet.”

She added that UPS carefully manages the relationships it has with its vendors that provide paint services and livery to ensure to safeguard that the color and branding  isn’t used by anyone or any organization other than UPS.

Rosenberg said UPS has numerous systems and policies in place to prevent company vehicles from being used in ways the company doesn’t intend. Most importantly, in the case of transborder operations, she said UPS has strong relationships with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

“Our transborder volume has grown, and we want to expedite clearance for the vehicles.  The key is the advanced information we exchange to quickly provide the detail and access that U.S. Customs officials need,” Rosenberg said. “They know what the manifests are and have all the declarations for our vehicles.”

Another way UPS knows where its vehicles are at all times is telematics. Each UPS vehicle is equipped with telematics technology that has GPS capability and diagnostics to enhance routing, equipment maintenance, safety training, and information shared with our drivers.

UPS’s Rosenberg said this was an isolated incident at the border and that the company hasn’t seen “cloned” vehicles such as this before.

“It certainly hasn’t been an issue for UPS because we have layered measures for security and asset protection in place,” she said.

By Greg Basich and Chris Wolski

Related Articles: Protecting a Fleet From Criminals

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