2 accused of posing as federal agents plead not guilty

The two men accused of pretending to be agents of the Department of Homeland Security pleaded not guilty to all charges on Tuesday.

Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali were arrested earlier this month at the tail end of the investigation of an alleged assault on a postal worker March 14. When a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigator began looking into the reported assault, prosecutors said, they learned that the two had been representing themselves as officers of the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

The two men controlled five apartments in the building, and a search found tactical gear and a large supply of guns and ammunition, as well as a surveillance system to monitor the building and a binder with information on all the building’s residents, many of whom were federal agents.

Taherzadeh’s company, USSP, had no connection with the federal government; in fact, it changed its name after D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs said the original name, U.S. Special Police, was misleading.

They were indicted on charges of false impersonation of a federal officer and possessing a large capacity ammunition device.

Prosecutors have said that the two men also gave gifts to law enforcement officers, including Secret Service agents, which included the rent-free use of two of the five apartments the men controlled. A judgment of more than $220,000 has been lodged against USSP because no rent was ever paid.

Four Secret Service employees have been suspended after allegedly being duped by Taherzadeh and Ali. Two of the four suspended officials are agents; two are uniformed division officers.

Taherzadeh and Ali’s next court appearance was set for June 28. They’re both in the custody of their fathers.

CBS News and WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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