Accidental Smuggler | Junk in the Trunk

Nerd Smugglers Key Codes

Federal Criminal Defense Source has supplied us with an Affidavit from Federal Law Enforcement that outlines how drug smugglers would obtain electronic key codes using the Vehicle Identification Numbers. They would then use the keys to open the trunk to stuff drugs in the trunk outside of the United States, and retrieve them from the vehicle after it had returned to the United States.



Drugs in the Trunk? How Did That Get in There?

“The FBI has uncovered an elaborate drug smuggling scheme along the U.S., Mexican border. It involves G.P.S. devices, duplicate keys, duffel bags stuffed with drugs and regular commuters used as mules” according to a television news report, see video below.

A Doctor and several other unsuspecting people were arrested at the border after cops found some vehicles to have the drugs in the trunk. All the drivers claimed to not know there was 200 pounds of weed in the trunk. Charges are pending against the smugglers. Excerpts from the Affidavit are below. Smugglers call these unsuspecting folks “blind mules.”
Accidental Smuggler | FBI Arrests Marijuana Blind Mules

The affidavit details the use of blind mules to run drugs from Juarez to El Paso. It’s public record in a case out of El Paso, Texas and was filed July 1, 2011.

Electronic Key Codes and Smuggling Excerpts From FBI DEA Agent Affidavit:
Based on the information provided by [Confidential Source] CS-1, the locksmith [they] were using was specifically identified. Throughout the remainder of this Affidavit, this locksmith is referred to as LOCKSMITH A.
13. On 06/17/2011, we interviewed an El Paso, Texas-based licensed locksmith, {not LOCKSMITH A). This licensed locksmith informed us that there were several “key code source” companies that have the capability to provide vehicle key cut codes to licensed locksmiths based on the provision of the VIN by the licensed locksmith, This licensed locksmith further informed us that, as a result of differing standards and policies amongst vehicle manufacturers, “key code source” companies have varied abilities to provide key cut codes depending on the vehicle make and model. For example, this locksmith stated that most “key code source” companies had very limited access to key cut codes for most XXXX key cut codes, but had widely available access to XXXX key cut codes.
14. Texas Department of Public Safety records indicate that LOCKSMITH A is a licensed Texas locksmith with a license expiring on 12/31/2011. Based on the information described in this paragraph and in paragraph 13 above, I believe that LOCKSMITH A has access to one or more “key code source” companies and therefore has the ability to obtain vehicle key cut codes for vehicles, especially Ford vehicles, solely by providing a VIN to one or more of these “key code source” companies.
I have reviewed the information from this database with respect to a single user account (hereafter referred to as USER ACCOUNT A) from a XXXX Dealership located in Dallas, Texas. This information indicates that the following vehicle key codes were pulled by USER ACCOUNT A:
27. Per XXXX Motor Company, USER ACCOUNT A has pulled/accessed 5,321 vehicle key codes in the last 18 months, approximately 10 key codes per day. Also based on my review of this information, USER ACCOUNT A has pulled vehicle key codes for XXXX vehicles which are registered all over the United States, not just in Dallas, Texas. Based on the high volume of key codes pulled, as well as the geographic dispersion of the registered locations of the associated vehicles, I believe that USER ACCOUNT A is being utilized to provide vehicle key codes to one or more “key code source” companies as described in paragraph 13 above,
28. In order to corroborate CS-l’s information with respect to LOCKSMITH A, and to confirm the link between LOCKSMITH A and USER ACCOUNT A, we tasked an Individual to go to LOCKSMITH A and request that LOCKSMITH A make a copy of a XXXX vehicle key, solely based on the provision of the VIN for that . . . .  vehicle.
LOCKSMITH A employee informed the Individual that the key would only work to get in to the car, but would not start it.
30. On 06/27/2011, we received confirmation from [the manufacturer’s] Global Investigations Department that on 06/24/2011, at approximately 12:22 PM (10:22 PM Mountain Time), USER ACCOUNT A pulled/accessed the TEST VIN for the 2006 [vehicle]. The TEST VIN was therefore pulled/accessed by USER ACCOUNT A during the relevant timeframe that the Individual provided the TEST VIN to the employee at LOCKSMITH A.
[B]y utilizing keys made by LOCKSMITH A and by victimizing individuals whom they have caused to unwittingly smuggle drugs, have violated Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 and 846, Possession with Intent to Distribute a controlled substance, namely 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and Conspiracy to possess with the intent to Distribute controlled substance, namely 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.
Did Someone Hide Drugs in Your Car? Call me Toll Free 1-877-793-9290 .

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