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Professional Responsibility
10/12/2010

Puerto Rican man arrested on charges of impersonating a Department of Homeland Security agent

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Francis Ryan Romano-Maria, 22, of San Juan, was arrested Oct. 11 on federal charges of impersonating a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agent following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the San Juan Police Department (SJPD).

On Oct. 11, Romano-Maria was driving what appeared to be a law enforcement vehicle with its blue lights and siren on when he was stopped by a SJPD officer who was investigating a traffic accident.

Romano-Maria, dressed in a Homeland Security shirt, identified himself to the SJPD officer as a DHS agent, but failed to produce a valid identification.  A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed other tactical equipment.

"Impersonating a federal agent undermines the confidence people have in their government when information from imposters proves not to be true," said Tere Silva, resident agent in charge of ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility in San Juan. "Impersonation in the law enforcement arena poses a serious threat to public safety and will not be tolerated. ICE-OPR will continue to criminally investigate and charge individuals who impersonate DHS ICE agents or officers."

Romano-Maria had his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin on Oct. 12. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of three years in prison.

The investigation was conducted by ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility with the assistance of the San Juan Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Cardona.