1,300 fake law badges seized
Use could have been 'devastating' to security, official says
Tuesday, May 10, 2005 Posted: 8:05 PM EDT (0005 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Federal agents arrested a man on Monday, charging him with possessing and selling more than 1,300 counterfeit badges representing 35 law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency said.
The counterfeits are "very, very good," said Special Agent in Charge Martin Ficke, who added that nine out of 10 would "pass scrutiny."
The phony badges mimic real badges from agencies such as the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Customs, Drug Enforcement Agency, Treasury and New York Police Department, Ficke said. Some even had a signature from the company that makes the real badges.
"For someone to have that in their possession and utilize it to identify themselves as law enforcement could be devastating to security, particularly homeland security," Ficke said.
Officials said the badges were shipped from Taiwan to San Francisco, California, and were discovered by a customs agent who then contacted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency officials in New York.
Posing as a DHL courier, a federal agent delivered the package to the Bronx apartment of Sergio Khorosh, a Russian who is a permanent U.S. resident, the agency said. After he signed for the package, U.S. Marshals served a search warrant.
Along with the badges, they seized two NYPD police uniforms, two-way radios and six firearms, including a Glock 9 mm handgun, a Beretta semiautomatic rifle and a Winchester shotgun, the agency said. Agents also confiscated a used casing from a shoulder-fired missile.
Federal agents are searching computer files seized from Khorosh to try and determine who might have bought the badges, which sold for $35 to $50, the agency said.
Khorosh was arraigned Monday night, agency officials said. He is scheduled to be back in New York Southern District court May 23, officials said.