The Christmas season is prime time for thieves, including Mexican drug cartels stealing trucks to outfit them as armored vehicles against their rival cartels or even government officials.
Chris Cabrera, with the National Border Patrol Council, said they like trucks, like turbo diesels because they're fast and strong with good engines, or sturdy vehicles like F250s or 350s.
"They'll armor them up with any type of metal or steel that they can find and put them on the back," said Cabrera.
He said nine times out of 10, trucks are stolen at night while people are sleeping.
"We hear the gunfire nightly out there. And, it is a very real safety concern," said Cabrera.
He said by the time the owner notices a stolen vehicle, the cartels have an eight hour lead on them.
"We've caught vehicles smuggling in our area, that were stolen out of Houston, that they brought them here, loaded them up and they're already making trips back and forth, dropping people off," said Cabrera.
He said drug cartels will take advantage of anyone.
"People will do anything for money, and that's pretty scary," said Cabrera.
He said be alert to your surroundings and lock up your vehicle. Car theft is a crime of opportunity.