Two Washington, D.C. men who were recently granted pre-trial release in a Homeland Security impersonation case now face a federal indictment.
Arian Taherzadeh, 36, and Haider Ali, 40, were indicted on a count each Tuesday for false impersonation of an officer of the United States, and unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device. Taherzadeh also faces a second count for unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.
Regarding the false impersonation count, the grand jury charges that the defendants, from around February 2020 to April 6, 2022, “falsely issued and pretend to be an officer and employee acting under the authority of the United States, and any department, agency and office thereof, and acted as such, and in such pretended character demanded and obtained money, papers, documents and things of value; that is, TAHERZADEH and ALI falsely acted as if they were authorized agents and employees of the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to recruit other individuals to fabricated law enforcement positions, and pretended to be agents and employees of the Department of Homeland Security to obtain things of value from Crossing DC and One Parking.”
The unlawful possession count both defendants face stems from alleged possession, on or around April 6, of a “large capacity ammunition feeding device—that is, one (1) Glock magazine. (InViolationofD.C. Code §7-2506.01(b)).”
The lone remaining count Taherzadeh faces relates to alleged possession, on or around April 6, of “five (5) Sig Sauer magazines.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia had no comment on the indictment.
As Law&Crime previously reported, the defendants are accused of posing as Homeland Security agents over a roughly two-year span, allegedly using their false identities to get close to actual law enforcement officials, including a Secret Service agent assigned to the detail of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The defendants allegedly offered gifts to residents, many of whom work for federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Navy. Per the affidavit in support of their arrests:
Specifically, Taherzadeh has provided members of the United States Secret Service (USSS) and an employee of DHS with, among other things, rent-free apartments (with a total yearly rent of over $40,000 per apartment), iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat screen television, a case for storing an assault rifle, a generator, and law enforcement paraphernalia. Taherzadeh also offered these individuals use of, what Taherzadeh represented to be “official government vehicles.”
Despite the Homeland Security aspect of the case, a magistrate judge was not persuaded by the government’s pro-detention arguments and ordered the defendants’ release ahead of trial.
Read the indictment below:
Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.
[Image via FBI court filing.]
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