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Tractor-trailer carrying migrants in San Antonio may have been cloned

KHOU 11 Investigates talked to a Texas trucking company that claimed someone stole its identification numbers and put them on the truck found in San Antonio.

The tractor-trailer carrying the migrants in San Antonio may have been cloned.

KHOU 11 Investigates talked to the owner of a South Texas trucking company who claimed someone stole his federal and state identification numbers and put them on the truck found outside of San Antonio.

The truck has been making headlines since Monday evening. It has especially caught Felipe Betancourt, Jr.'s eye in Alamo, Texas.

“It's sad, you know, just knowing how many people died inside that truck,” Betancourt said.

RELATED: 51 migrants found dead in tractor trailer in San Antonio, officials say

Bentancourt sent KHOU 11 cell phone video showing how strikingly similar the truck found in San Antonio is similar to the one his father uses to ship products for his company Betancourt Trucking and Harvesting.  He notes, though, that there is one big difference.

“That truck does not belong to us. I know that wasn't my truck because my truck’s been here in the valley running grain and sorghum since last Friday,” Betancourt said.

The truck in San Antonio is the same color and has the same identifying numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Transportation.

The duplication is known as cloning. 

CEO of the Texas Trucking Association John Esparza says it’s a real problem.

“There's been a rash of these cloning activities. I know roughly 73% of these cases, as far as cloning goes, are passenger vehicles,” Esparza said.

RELATED: ‘I need manpower at the trailer’ | Radio transmissions reveal chilling details of migrant death trap in San Antonio

Esparza said like with VINs, technology is making it easier to do.

“It seems to me that if it's on the rise that more and more people are figuring out how to do that. With things occurring out there, you have to be more concerned that this will happen again, and we've got to raise awareness over what has occurred,” Esparza said.

With the exception of updating their registration numbers, there is not much that truckers can do to protect themselves, Esparza said. 

Betancourt says the ordeal is frustrating and worrisome.

“I mean, nobody has spoken to us about that. We are not worried about the investigation. We have nothing to hide. We welcome any law enforcement, anybody that wants to speak to us. We're willing to cooperate with them,” Betancourt said.

Betancourt believes his truck’s identification numbers may have been cloned during a shipment to Laredo last week.

Cheryl Mercedes on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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