Prosecutors say impersonators who duped Secret Service agents are dangerous flight risks

In a memo arguing that the two men should remain in custody pending trial, prosecutors wrote that Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali compromised federal law enforcement operations and created a potential national security risk.

“The defendants were not simply playing dress-up,” prosecutors wrote in the memo filed Friday. “They had firearms, they had ammunition, they had bulletproof vests, they had tactical gear, they had surveillance gear.”

Taherzadeh and Ali were arrested earlier this week and charged with posing as Department of Homeland Security agents for more than two years. They gave federal agents expensive gifts and provided them with apartments in Washington, DC, according to the arrest memorandum. Taherzadeh allegedly offered to buy a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent in the first lady’s protective gear, according to an affidavit.

Prosecutors have not provided an alleged motive or purpose for the bogus operation, nor have authorities identified the source of the money that financed it. The two men will appear at a detention hearing on Friday, and prosecutors have indicated in court that they may add additional “conspiracy” charges.

“None of the defendants is an employee of the United States government. But his phishing scheme was realistic enough to convince other government employees, including law enforcement officers, of his false identities,” prosecutors wrote.

“They pretended to recruit other law enforcement people and their phony operation…and took advantage of their phony law enforcement status to ingratiate themselves with other law enforcement officers in sensitive positions.”

After his arrest, prosecutors say Taherzadeh told investigators Ali financed most of his day-to-day operation, but Taherzadeh said he didn’t know where the money came from.

The couple were also in possession of “immigration documents for multiple individuals,” according to the prosecutors’ memo, and had significant access to information about other tenants at the Washington, DC, apartment complex, where they and several law enforcement officials. comply with the law resided, including electronic access codes and a list of each tenant.

In addition, prosecutors said the couple had a machine to make “Personal Identification Verification” cards, as well as passport photos. Witnesses saw Taherzadeh with a PIV card that he used to log into his laptop that had a “DHS” label on it, according to the memo.

Taherzadeh had several copies of his driver’s license and identification cards, and Ali had traveled to Iran and had two visas from Pakistan and one to travel to Egypt.

According to the memo, Taherzadeh and Ali were storing weapons and law enforcement equipment in several apartments they rented at a DC apartment complex. In an apartment, which investigators said was used for storage, investigators found a loaded Glock 19 pistol and a Sig Sauer pistol, long gun parts, sights and multiple rounds of ammunition.

In other apartments, investigators discovered surveillance equipment, including 30 hard drives, hard drive copying equipment and a “high-end drone,” as well as clothing with police insignia, police parking signs, a fingerprint kit latent and a lock picking kit, according to the arrest memorandum.

Taherzadeh pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery on his wife in a Virginia court in 2013, prosecutors said, and is prohibited from possessing firearms.

Neither Taherzadeh nor Ali have submitted a formal statement.

Leave a Comment