SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. – A Humacao man was arrested Nov. 15 on charges of falsely impersonating a federal officer. The arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Frank Vega-Marrero, 56, was arrested in Humacao following allegations that he was impersonating an HSI special agent in order to gain access to the Center for Emergency Management (CEM) of the municipal government of Humacao.
According to court documents, Vega-Marrero presented a false government identification and portrayed himself as an HSI special agent to the CEM management and procured work as a voluntary staff member for relief efforts related to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in the municipality of Humacao and its neighboring townships.
According to the charging document, ICE OPR special agents interviewed individuals working at the CEM and the Humacao municipal government who confirmed that Vega-Marrero routinely introduced himself as an HSI special agent, wore an HSI special agent T-shirt and when required, presented an alleged government issued identification from the Department of Homeland Security. The charging document also alleges that given the representations that Vega-Marrero was an HSI employee, his duties as a volunteer included following up on municipal requests for federal relief aid.
On Nov. 15, ICE OPR special agents encountered Vega-Marrero at his place of work where he introduced himself as an HSI employee. At the time, he was wearing an HSI special agent T-shirt with a lanyard containing a fraudulent DHS HSI identification. He was arrested without incident.
Vega-Marrero had his initial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin Wednesday. He was released on bail. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29 at 10:30 a.m.
If convicted of the impersonation charge, Vega-Marrero faces three years in prison.