Two men were arrested and charged in Washington D.C. for impersonating Department of Homeland Security Agents and were reportedly able to get close to Secret Service agents assigned to the White House by offering them a variety of gifts.

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, have allegedly been impersonating federal agents for over two years since February 2020. During that time, they established relationships with some Secret Service agents by buying them apartments rent-free, phones and surveillance systems. They also offered to purchase a pricey assault rifle for an agent who was assigned to First Lady Jill Biden.

Their scheme was caught only after residents in their building told a U.S. Postal Service Inspector that the two might have knowledge of a USPS employee who was assaulted in front of their apartment building. When talking to the inspector, their story of being part of the DHS involved in an undercover gang investigation raised a red flag, and he relayed his conversation to the DHS, who quickly informed the FBI as well.

In a statement Thursday, the Secret Service said, “All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Services facilities, equipment, and systems.” According to court documents, they made connections with four Secret Service agents and one DHS employee.

They are also accused of fraudulently recruiting someone as an “employee of DHS,” and got their help researching defense officials. They also shot the applicant with an airsoft rifle as part of their “recruitment process” to take note of their pain threshold. When their apartment was searched, authorities also allegedly found several concerning items including body armor, gas masks, zip ties, a drone and several firearms including a loaded Glock-19 pistol and a disassembled sniper scope. They also had a binder that named every resident in the apartment building.

When they appeared in court on Thursday, they both asked to be represented by court-appointed attorneys with Ali saying “because I don’t have any money.” However, they were paying over $40,000 a year per apartment for places they were offering to Secret Service agents. Prosecutors have argued that Taherzadeh and Ali pose a flight risk, and it will be determined Friday afternoon if they will remain detained through the duration of this trial. They’ve already been hit with charges for impersonating a federal agent, and may face more charges as things develop.


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