A few miles away across the Rio Grande, the FBI determined that Chavez and Gomez were using lookouts to monitor the SENTRI Express Lane at the border. The lookouts identified “targets” — people with regular commutes who primarily drove Ford vehicles. According to the FBI affidavit, the smugglers would follow their targets and get the vehicle identification number off the car’s dashboard. Then a corrupt locksmith with access to Ford’s vehicle database would make a duplicate key.
Keys in hand, the gang would put drugs in a car at night in Mexico and then pick up their shipment from the parked vehicle the next morning in Texas, authorities say.
This attack works because 1) there’s a database of keys available to lots of people, and 2) both the SENTRI system and the victims are predictable.