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Queens man charged with impersonating DHS agent, Suffolk police say

A Queens man was arrested and charged with impersonating a federal officer following a traffic stop on the Long Island Expressway in Brentwood, Suffolk police said.

Fernando Garnecho, 55, of Elmhurst, was charged with first-degree criminal impersonation and held overnight for a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in First District Court in Central Islip, police said. It was not immediately clear if he was represented by counsel.

On Tuesday at about 12:30 p.m., a Suffolk police officer from the K-9 unit in a marked vehicle spotted a 2019 Audi A8, with blue and red emergency lights activated in the windshield, driving on the shoulder of the eastbound HOV lane of the LIE near Exit 53, Sagtikos Parkway, and initiated a traffic stop, authorities said.

Garnecho "portrayed himself" as an on-duty agent with the Department of Homeland Security, police said, and wore a black agency jacket with law enforcement patches and "ICE" written on the front and back. Police said he also had what turned out to be a replica handgun in a leather holster on the front passenger seat and "other law enforcement identifiers," which "appeared to be fabricated."

"It was determined that Garnecho is not employed by the United States Department of Homeland Security," police said in a news release.

Garnecho was then arrested, police said.

Fourth Squad detectives are asking anyone with information to contact them at 631-854-8443.

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