U.S. border cops nab migrants in fake beer truck

PHOENIX Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:29pm EST

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - U.S. border police pulled over a van decked out as a beer delivery truck close to the Arizona-Mexico border and discovered it was packed with illegal immigrants, authorities said on Tuesday.

The white van painted with fake Budweiser beer logos was pulled over north from Sasabe, a small town on the Mexico border southwest of Tucson, early on Monday, said Tucson sector Border Patrol agent Mike Scioli.

When agents searched it they found it was carrying 13 illegal immigrants -- eight from China and five from Mexico.

Arizona lies along the most heavily trafficked drug and human smuggling corridor from Mexico to the United States.

Authorities have hired more police and added barriers to curb the illicit trade, but this has emboldened some smugglers to become more creative in their attempts to spirit drugs and illegal immigrants north.

Last week, a microlight aircraft packed with bundles of marijuana crashed in a lettuce patch close to the Mexico border, killing the pilot.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; editing by Chris Wilson)

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