Two men accused of impersonating federal agents are indicted on federal charges

Two men who were arrested on suspicion of impersonating federal agents were indicted on a handful of counts by a federal grand jury. Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali were indicted for misrepresenting a US official or employee and illegally possessing a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Taherzadeh was also indicted on an additional count of the second charge for another ammunition device.

Taherzadeh, 40, and Ali, 35, were arrested by FBI agents in early April. The FBI has accused the two men of impersonating various government officials, including members of various law enforcement agencies, since February 2020.

The two men are accused of obtaining paraphernalia, handguns and assault rifles used by federal law enforcement agencies and falsely claiming to be members of those agencies. The FBI claimed it used its false associations with the US government “to please members of federal law enforcement and the defense community”.

While allegedly pretending to be a member of the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI claims that Taherzadeh provided members of the US Secret Service and a DHS employee with free apartments and goods such as iPhones, a case to store an assault rifle, and surveillance systems. .

Secret Service employees were housed in a luxury apartment building in southwest DC, close to where the suspects lived, according to US officials. But the staff has since moved, posing a challenge for investigators looking to determine if its walls were bugged. The FBI has taken custody of all electronic materials and evidence related to this case, US officials said.

Four Secret Service employees were suspended after allegedly being tricked by Taherzadeh and Ali. Two of the four suspended officers are agents and two are uniformed division officers.

In a statement, the Secret Service previously said it is taking this incident “extremely seriously,” working with federal officials and conducting its own review.

“While this is an ongoing investigation, we have found no evidence of adverse security impacts or improper access to confidential information, systems or protected locations at this time,” the statement said.

Upon searching the apartments, investigators also recovered Ali’s passport containing three “older” Pakistani visas and two Iranian visas from 2019 and January 2020, prosecutors said. There was an indication on his Iranian visa that he had entered that country at some point, prosecutors said, although they did not specify when.

Ali was under investigation by HSI’s Newark office and the US Postal Service for fraudulent activity stemming from an alleged credit card scheme, according to two law enforcement sources. The status of this investigation remains uncertain.

Other court documents filed Tuesday allege that, while posing as a DHS employee, Taherzadeh instructed a witness to “conduct research on an individual” who “provided support to the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.”

Another witness claims that despite not even having an appointment, Ali was essentially able to argue to obtain the witness’s fingerprint at a facility owned by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

A third witness alleges that, after an argument over the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements, Taherzadeh told her and a group of friends that if they had been men and “declared their political beliefs in their home,” he would have thrown them. . according to court documents.

Both Ali and Taherzadeh must be released for home confinement pending process. District of Columbia Judge G. Michael Harvey ruled last week that the men are not flight risks and pose no threat to the community. However, this decision was made at a time when there was only one indictment pending against the two men.

Sophie Reardon, Jordan Freiman and Sara Cooke contributed reporting.

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