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A new case in federal court sheds light on efforts by two Washington DC men to pose as federal agents, including stockpiling weapons, tactical gear and hard drives.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, were both arrested Wednesday at a luxury apartment in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, DC, during a multi-unit federal government multi-agency raid. The men were charged with impersonating a federal officer in US district court on Thursday.
Federal prosecutors filed a detention motion Friday morning, showing some of what the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies found when they executed the search warrant on Wednesday, including a stockpile of weapons that would belong to Taherzadeh and Ali.
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Federal law enforcement recovered a 9mm Glock handgun loaded with 17 rounds, a Sig Sauer P229 with five fully loaded magazines and several “gun components” that prosecutors say are normally used with “long guns and assault rifles”, among other weapons.
Officers executing the search warrant found several gun safes as well as airsoft guns.
In addition, law enforcement officers recovered “numerous electronic devices”, including a “significant” amount of surveillance equipment, 30 hard drives, hard drive copying equipment, a server containing “six modules “, as well as a machine that creates and programs Personal Identity Verification Cards and Blank Cards with Chips.
Passports belonging to Ali were also recovered and show two visas from Iran. Prosecutors say the first visa authorized travel to Iran from July 31, 2019 to October 28, 2019 and the second from October 28, 2019 to January 25, 2020.
The passports also contain visas from Pakistan.
Tactical gear and other law enforcement gear was found, including clothing with police traffic signs, police parking signs, a fingerprint kit and equipment to shoot down a door as a hammer and a lock picking kit.
Immigration documents for “a number of individuals” were also found, along with a “box of documents with profiles of individuals”.
One document found is an invoice for a Chevrolet Impala belonging to the defendants; customer information listed says “Secret Service US” and displays fake names.
TWO MEN POSING AS FEDERAL AGENTS, PROVIDE SECRET SERVICE OFFICERS WITH IPHONES, APARTMENTS, OFFICIALS RELEASE
Taherzadeh was also reportedly seen in video obtained by law enforcement “firing a handgun and assault rifle at a shooting range” believed to be in Northern Virginia. In one of the videos, prosecutors allege he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt that read “US Secret Service” on it. Taherzadeh is prohibited from possessing these weapons, according to prosecutors.
During a voluntary interview after Taherzadeh’s arrest, he admitted to falsely identifying himself as a member of the Department of Homeland Security as well as a former US Army Ranger. He also said he provided free apartments to two Secret Service agents for a year, in addition to giving several other freebies to Secret Service members.
Taherzdeh also admitted to removing law enforcement-related social media content after realizing there was a federal investigation into the two men’s activity, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors are calling for both men to be detained ahead of trial, arguing Ali is at risk of fleeing and Taherzdeh may attempt to obstruct justice.
A detention hearing will be held on Friday for the two men.
The two individuals’ plot began to unravel when a United States Postal Inspector arrived at their apartment complex to investigate an alleged assault involving a United States Postal Service carrier, prosecutors say.
The men identified themselves as investigators with the U.S. Police Special Investigative Unit, which Ali said was part of the Department of Homeland Security, and said Taherzadeh was a Special Investigative Agent with the Department of internal security.
The U.S. Postal Inspector then forwarded that information to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office, where it was then forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a court filing.
In an attempt to prove he was an employee of the Department of Homeland Security, Taherzadeh took a picture of himself in a Department of Homeland Security Investigations “vest”. The Secret Service agent investigating the two suspects also saw multiple photos of Taherzadeh in police tactical gear, prosecutors say.
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Taherzadeh also allegedly texted the Secret Service investigator a photo, which he said was allegedly from training, but was actually extracted from a Department of Homeland Security social media post.
Federal prosecutors allege that Taherzadeh identified himself as a special agent from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations to a Secret Service agent who is currently assigned to the first lady’s protection detail, and Ali identified himself as a homeland security investigation analyst.
Fox News confirmed that of the four Secret Service agents suspended as part of the investigation, two of them worked for the Uniformed Division, and one of the agents’ duties was near the residence of the Vice-President. President Harris, but not on her. person detail.
A separate Secret Service agent who is now suspended has been assigned to first lady Jill Biden’s Presidential Protective Division, and sources tell Fox News that it’s possible this agent will sometimes fill in for operatives close to President Biden but was not part of the president’s regular security. detail.
Residents of the luxury apartment complex at Navy Yard told the inspector that the two men had set up video surveillance throughout the apartment complex, and said they believed they had access to personal information , and even said the men claimed they could access the residents’ cell. Telephone (s.
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A witness, who is a member of the Secret Service, said Taherzadeh had access to “all floors of the apartment”, including some restricted areas. The witness says Taherzadeh was able to gain this access by speaking with management of the apartment complex and identifying himself as a federal agent.
Taherzadeh reportedly controls a limited liability company called “United Special Police LLC”, which is described as a private law enforcement, investigation and protection service based in Washington, D.C.
Fox News’ David Spunt contributed to this report