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Maryland

Fake marshal arrested after calling police for backup in Maryland, prosecutors say

Antione Tuckson is not a law enforcement officer. But when police in Prince George’s County encountered him outside a restaurant and charged him with impersonating a deputy U.S. marshal, he sure looked the part, authorities say.

Tuckson was carrying a Glock 9mm pistol, handcuffs, a Taser “and other police gear and was accompanied by a dog wearing a police-style vest,” federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Friday. At the eatery, Tuckson had tried to detain two women who were disputing their bill, the prosecutors wrote. When the women defied his orders and left the restaurant, according to the court filing, Tuckson pursued them — and called county police for backup.

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After meeting him on the street, officers thought it was odd that Tuckson had left his dog in the restaurant. “Recognizing that an on-duty canine never leaves the assigned officer’s side,” the officers “began investigating Tuckson’s claim that he was a Deputy U.S. Marshal,” the prosecutors wrote. Tuckson, 38, showed them a fake identification card and badge, then telephoned “a co-conspirator,” who identified himself to the officers as Tuckson’s supervisor in the Marshals Service, prosecutors wrote.

The story fell apart, though, and he was arrested by the officers that day, March 6, on state charges of illegal gun possession and impersonating a law enforcement officer. After the Marshals Service conducted its own investigation, Tuckson was indicted by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Maryland, where he made his initial appearance Friday, pleading not guilty to federal charges of impersonating a U.S. government officer and possessing a firearm illegally.

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His “fake U.S. Marshals identification card had an embedded computer chip to resemble” a genuine card issued by the Justice Department, according to the court filing, in which the prosecutors asked for Tuckson to be held without bond pending prosecution. As of Monday, Tuckson had not filed a response to that motion, according to online court records. A judge referred his case to the federal public defender’s office for assignment of a defense attorney.

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In the Prince George’s case, Tuckson, of Waldorf, was released on bail in April. Michael Lovelace, the lawyer representing him in Prince George’s Circuit Court, declined to comment Monday, except to say that Tuckson has not yet entered a plea in that case.

Although he has no convictions for impersonating a law enforcement officer, Tuckson has been accused or suspected of it in the past, according to prosecutors.

They wrote he was charged with impersonating an officer in West Virginia in 2006, but the case was dismissed.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Tuckson was charged with illegal gun possession in the District in 2009 and sentenced to four years in prison. “Although the case was ultimately overturned on appeal … Mr. Tuckson was initially arrested in that case because police believed he was impersonating an officer,” the federal prosecutors wrote in Friday’s court filing.

“Specifically, when police encountered Mr. Tuckson, he was driving a Chevy Impala outfitted with dark windows, long antennas, a police-style dash light, and other features that made it appear to be an undercover police vehicle,” prosecutors wrote.

In Charles County in 2018, the prosecutors wrote, Tuckson turned on the emergency lights in his vehicle and stopped a fleeing robbery suspect. He was not charged with a crime in that instance, and it is unclear whether authorities at the time knew that he was not a law enforcement officer.

Late last year, Tuckson registered the trademark “USMS Special Services” in Maryland, then identified himself as a deputy marshal in persuading the Prince George’s restaurant to hire him for private security work, the prosecutors wrote. As for the two unhappy diners he allegedly tried to detain, it’s unclear whether their billing dispute was resolved.


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