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'Mad Max' Jeep Cherokee gets stuck on makeshift ramp during smuggling attempt

Ajo-area Border Patrol agents seized a heavily modified Jeep Cherokee on Wednesday after smugglers fleeing southbound got stuck on a vehicle barrier, authorities said. 

Agents working a stretch of desert about four miles north of the international border discovered tracks from an off-road vehicle on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and called in additional Border Patrol agents, along with a helicopter crew with Air and Marine Operations, said a BP spokesman. 

The helicopter crew spotted the Jeep "speeding south toward the international boundary," he said. The roof and body work had been stripped away, and the windshield had been replaced by a metal screen, along with a custom-made roll-bar. 

"It reminds me of 'Mad Max'," the spokesman said. 

Inside the vehicle, the crew spotted 11 people and "several suspected bundles of marijuana." 

The driver headed to a part of the border where "limited border security infrastructure is in place," and where two makeshift ramps were in place, more than a dozen miles west of Lukeville, Ariz. The driver attempted to drive over the bollard fence using the ramps, but failed, and the Jeep became stuck on the post and rail vehicle barrier, he said. 

The occupants fled into Mexico with the suspected marijuana, he said. 

U.S. officials asked Mexican officials to deploy military law enforcement to the area, but officials did not find the suspects or the drugs. Mexican authorities seized the vehicle, he said. 

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Border Patrol agents found the area where the vehicle drove into the U.S., and found two additional homemade vehicle ramps, he said. 

Wednesday's smuggling attempt resembles a 2012 incident in which a silver Jeep Cherokee got "high centered" on a 14-foot-high section of border wall near Imperial Sand Dunes as the driver attempted to drive it down a custom-made ramp. 

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CBP

A modified Jeep Cherokee that became stuck on the bollard wall west of Lukeville, Ariz. as part of an attempt to smuggle marijuana and people into the U.S.