Two men in Washington D.C. have been arrested and charged with impersonating federal agents for nearly two years and furnishing real agents of the U.S. Secret Service with gifts that included iPhones, televisions, and even lavish apartments.
Posing as employees of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, were arrested on Wednesday after multiple federal agencies entered a luxury apartment building, The Crossing, in Southeast Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood, according to reports from the Associated Press and WTOP News.
Claiming they were on a DHS “special task force” dedicated to investigating gang and violence surrounding the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors allege the duo was attempting to integrate with actual federal agents.
Court documents reveal the charges against Taherzadeh include providing Secret Service agents with iPhones, surveillance systems, a flat-screen television, a generator, policing tools such as a gun case, and rent-free apartments — including a 40,000-a-year penthouse, which was occupied by a U.S. Secret Service Agent for almost a year.
In the apartments occupied by Taherzadeh and Ali, officers found law enforcement gear, “including tactical equipment, computers and surveillance cameras,” WTOP reported.
According to prosecutors, the men had set up surveillance in the building and were boasting to the building’s residents that they were able to access their cellphones at any time. Residents reportedly told authorities they believed Taherzadeh and Ali had access to their personal information.
Additionally, Teherzadeh allegedly lent out a black GMC SUV which he claimed was an “official government vehicle” to agents. Teherzadeh acquired and carried handguns and assault rifles used by federal law enforcement agencies to complete their disguise, according to the Feds. He even offered to purchase an assault rifle valued at $2,000 for a Secret Service agent tasked with protecting First Lady Jill Biden.
As part of the investigation, four Secret Service employees were placed on leave earlier this week.
The cosplay plot was uncovered by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as they were investigating an assault on a mail carrier at the apartment building and interviewed the two men, who identified themselves as belonging to the “U.S. Special Police Investigation Unit” of Homeland Security — a unit the duo fabricated.
Authorities have not detailed what it was Taherzadeh and Ali were trying to accomplish through their deceit — if, indeed, they were trying to accomplish anything other than the inflation of their own egos. Prosecutors have stated that the investigation remains ongoing.
The pair are scheduled to return to court on Thursday. As of this writing, it was unclear if Taherzadeh and Ali had secured attorneys who could comment on the case, and requests for comments from the Secret Service, DHS, and The Crossing, where the pair resided, have gone unanswered.
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