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Fake DEA Agent Discovered After Attempting Traffic Stop On Real Federal Agent

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A San Jose man has been arrested for impersonating a federal agent following an investigation which began when the suspect pulled over someone who was actually a federal agent, authorities said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said Tuesday that Alex Taylor, 49, was arrested March 2 outside his home in San Jose, with agents seizing a Volkswagen Jetta with police-type lighting, two firearms, an imitation DEA badge and concealed weapons badge, handcuffs and a small amount of methamphetamine.

fake DEA agent suspect
A man identified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as 49-year-old Alex Taylor is seen wearing a gold DEA-style badge around his neck outside a home on Hatfield Walkway in San Jose on Friday, March 1, 2019. (U.S. Department of Justice)

In a press release, DEA Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen said the investigation began in December 2018 when Taylor allegedly conducted a traffic stop in San Jose on an off-duty federal agent. Taylor allegedly wore a DEA badge and identified himself as a DEA agent, but the off-duty agent challenged Taylor's authority to write a ticket. After the off-duty agent identified herself, Taylor returned to his vehicle and drove off, Nielsen said.

In February, investigators learned about an off-duty Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office deputy who observed in November 2018 a Volkswagen Jetta with police-type lights that didn't look like official law-enforcement lights at the Highway 85/Highway 17 junction, according to the press release.

The deputy noted the Jetta pulling up behind a tow truck stopped on the shoulder of the highway and jotted the license plate number, which the DEA said was found to be registered to Taylor.

Agents contacted the driver of the tow truck observed by the off-duty deputy, and the driver told investigators he recalled being pulled over by a dark-colored vehicle with police lights, the DEA said. The driver also said when he asked for identification, the person - who he later identified as Taylor - returned to his vehicle and left, according to the DEA.

Last week, the California Highway Patrol notified the DEA of two reports of a Volkswagen Jetta driving with the red/blue lights attempting to pull drivers over in the area of southbound Interstate 280 and southbound Highway 85, the DEA said.

While conducting surveillance on Taylor's home on March 1, the DEA said agents saw him leaving home wearing what looked like a DEA badge around his neck and a concealed gun under his t-shirt. The FBI obtained arrest and search warrants for Taylor and his home and he was arrested on March 2.

Taylor was charged with impersonating an officer of the United States, unlawful possession of official badges or insignia, and use and possession of a counterfeit seal of an agency of the United States. His made his initial appearance in San Jose federal court on Monday.

The DEA urged anyone with information on the investigation to contact 408-282-3442.

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